EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story first ran on March 1, 2009; we’re re-publishing it today because of its significance to the Poverty Bay Wine Festival, which continues through Sunday, March 4:

by Bart Bryan and Mark Neuman

The Landmark On the Sound, host to this weekend’s Poverty Bay Wine Festival, has quite the Masonic history.

In 1926, the Masons decided to build a retirement home for themselves on a ridge with a commanding view of Puget Sound in the then-town of Zenith, which is now part of Des Moines. Constructed of slate and copper, Terra Cotta and Terrazzo, marble and stained glass, this majestic “castle on the hill” is playing host to the Des Moines Poverty Bay Wine Festival this weekend.

In between manning our table, we had a chance to wander around, and on one such wandering, found our way to the top of a ramp near the second floor auditorium tasting room and performance stage, where we found some classic photos of previous Masonic Grand Masters.

Yes, that’s right – photos beginning with, as the caption on the picture says, “Our first Grand Master, Thornton F. McElroy,” [term beginning Dec. 8, 1858].

If you ever have a chance to visit this building, be sure to wander up the ramp and enjoy the mugs of such brethren Masonic luminaries as:

  • Selucius Garfielde [1860]
  • Yancey Crawford Blalock
  • Platt Preston
  • Asa Herbert Hankerson [1913]
  • Elwood Evans
  • Loomis Baldrey [1934]
  • Audley F. Mahaffey [1967]

and, of course,

  • Fred Winkels [1953]

We recommend re-reading the above names…ALOUD…to anyone in the room at home with you right now.

Particularly: Fred Winkels…and…Audley Mahaffey.

While our Waterland Blog Reporters were upstairs capturing the Grand Masters’ names and the Masonic spirit of the era, they happened to bump into a Wine Festival visitor today, one Phyllis Askren, daughter-in-law of Grand Master Thomas M. Askren, who served his term when Herbert Hoover was in the White House.

From left, Julian Lopez, Betty Askren-Lopez (granddaughter of Grand Master Thomas M. Askren) and Betty’s mother (Thomas’ daughter-in-law) Phyllis Askren.

Living history and enjoying great wine, one unique name at a time!