Masonic Island

Masonic Island historical siteLake Metigoshe lies across the U.S.-Canadian line. About 1.5 miles south of the Canadian boundary is a 7.2-acre spot of land, Masonic Island.

Its interesting history has been chronicled by James Savaloja, Past Grand Master and Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota.

The island was owned by Brother V.B. Noble, a member of Tuscan Lodge, who purchased it from the Government in 1899. The first Masonic meeting was held there in 1906, when Tuscan Lodge opened Lodge, and then permitted Westhope Lodge to confer the Master Mason Degree.

Over the years, the island was frequently used for Masonic meetings, with attendance sometimes reaching 500 or more. A complete outdoor Lodge room and a staircase leading up from the dock were built in 1935.

In 1933, the land was transferred from Brother Noble's estate to the North Dakota Masonic Foundation, and was dedicated by the Grand Lodge in 1934.

According to MW Brother Savaloja, "It is known fact that Masonic Island was probably the first place where visas to enter the United States were lifted for Masons of Canada during WWII by an agreement between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Mackenzie King, who were both members of the Fraternity.

"This agreement stated that the Canadian Masons could enter the United States by boat from the north shore of Lake Metigoshe, which is in Canada. As long as their feet never touched the shoreline of the lake in the U.S., and they landed only at Masonic Island when a meeting would be held, they would not be in violation of our wartime rules of entry."

Today, Masonic Island is being restored as a special historic location in the Turtle Mountains. The island lays claim to being the only spot in the area untouched by the fires and other disasters of nature which decimated old growths of oak trees and other flora and fauna. Because of the island's location in the center of the lake, it has some of the oldest trees and most unusual plants in the state.

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