Saturday, May 16, 2009

Grand Master's Reception - Mt. McKinley No. 5

It was cool and overcast when we arrived in Cordova, Alaska for the Grand Master’s reception. The warmth and sunshine of the past two weeks had raised our expectations and we hoped that we would experience similar weather in this Prince William Sound community. However, the warmth of the reception by the brethren of Mt. McKinley Lodge No. 5 more than compensated for the cool weather outside. We were received by the Worshipful Master, Harold “Bud” Moore, WB Bob Cunningham, Bro. Jim Getilesen, Bro. Brian Arnold, and their wives during a very enjoyable dinner at the OK Restaurant in Cordova. After dinner we all adjourned to Mt. McKinley’s beautiful old Lodge Hall for a brief program of presentations and Masonic education. RW Johnnie Wallace, DGM and my wife Beth accompanied me on this visit.

The city of Cordova was founded on the shores of Prince William Sound in 1908 as the terminus of the Copper River and Nonwestern Railway. Mt. McKinley was chartered under the Grand Lodge of Washington in 1911 as Lodge No. 183 and was primarily a railroad lodge. On September 21, 1925, MW Morton Gregory, Grand Master of Masons in Washington laid the corner-stone of the then new Masonic Temple being erected by the brethren of Mt. McKinley Lodge.

Thursday, the day of our arrival in Cordova, marked another special event for the city. It was the first opening of the 2009 Copper River commercial fishing season. The boat harbor was virtually empty, as the fleet had descended on the mouth of the Copper River in quest of the famous Copper River Red Salmon. Wild Alaska salmon are among the most prized of all the salmon in the world and the Copper River Red Salmon is the most prized among all wild Alaska salmon. Each season, the first of these fish caught fetch high prices in fish markets throughout the country. By Friday afternoon, fish caught on Thursday were sitting on ice in fish markets in Seattle, where they sold for $25 per pound. The fishermen, however, only received $3.50 per pound for their catch.

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