The History of Eureka Lodge No. 23 and DuPont Lodge No. 29
May 9, 2005
On February 11, 1867, Masons in Wilmington met to consider starting a new lodge. They voted in the affirmative and on February 28th, 1867 a regular meeting of Eureka Lodge, No. 23 U.D. was held. William S. Hayes served as worshipful master. They met at 224 Market Street.
On September 23, 1867, the Grand Lodge of Delaware assembled its officers and constituted Eureka Lodge No. 23 and installed its officers. They were presented with their charter and started to work.
In April of 1872 they met at the new Masonic Temple at 818 Market Street for the first time.
The members being accepted into Eureka Lodge were of a very high character, and it was soon to be known as “The Silk Stocking Lodge”. The members included 4 mayors and Cale Boggs, who was at different times both the Governor of Delaware and in the U.S. Senate.
Many items of note should be mentioned. P.M. Mark Garrett resigned the office treasurer in 1922 after 40 as treasurer. P.M. William Wingate followed that up by being treasurer for 41 years. Two members of note passed away in 1924. First, Samuel Baynard, a developer, who later had Baynard Boulevard named after him passed away. Second, J. Danforth Bush, whose house was to become the University and Whist Club passed away. This site was once considered for the capital city of the United States.
In 1876, master masons living near the DuPont Powder Mills on the Brandywine Creek, north of Wilmington, decided that a local lodge was needed. Travel to Wilmington, where the nearest lodges were located, was difficult. Usually it meant walking, though one could ride a mule car for 14 cents each way.
Therefore, on May 8, 1876, a group of men met to discuss the possibility of establishing a new lodge at DuPont Mills. A petition was signed by ten master masons and presented to Grand Master George Chaytor.
On May 24, 1876 a meeting was held, the dispensation was read and John Taylor was appointed as the first Worshipful Master.
On September 6, 1876, the name “DuPont Lodge” was adopted in honor of Victor DuPont. Mr. DuPont was the eldest son of Pierre Samuel DuPont de Nemours. He was born in Paris, France on October 1, 1767. In addition to being in the diplomatic service, he was Aid de Camp to Brother Lafayette in France. In 1809, he started a cloth manufacturing business at Louviers on the Brandywine Creek near Wilmington and lived nearby until his death in 1827. Brother DuPont was a member of Temple Lodge. He was our Grand Treasurer in 1825, in addition to assisting with the organization of several lodges in America. His great grandson, Victor DuPont, Jr. was raised in the DuPont Lodge on June 14, 1940.
The DuPont lodge originally met in the Odd Fellows Hall at Squirrel Run. In 1889 it moved to another Odd Fellows Hall, this one at 17th and Woodlawn Avenue in Wilmington. In 1908, due to continued growth in the lodge, DuPont Lodge began meeting at the Masonic Temple at 818 Market Street, where they continued to meet until the merge with Eureka Lodge.
On December 10, 1948, Grand Master James Carswell had his official visitation to DuPont Lodge and named us “The Friendly Lodge”.
Eureka DuPont Lodge No. 23-29
On October 6, 1993 Eureka Lodge and DuPont Lodge merged. This effort was spearheaded by Eureka’s Worshipful Master (later to become a Grandmaster). Herbert P. Fulmer and Senior Warden James “Stu” Biddle. Anthony Battaglia was the Worshipful Master of DuPont Lodge. Brother Biddle was the first Master of the combined Eureka- DuPont Lodge, but he became ill over the summer, and was never able to become the sitting Master. The lodges met at the Scottish Consistory until its sale in 2000. Eureka-DuPont has been meeting at Brandywine Lodge ever since.