June 27, 2016
The recent, historic events in Europe have me thinking of our place in the world. When we celebrated our 125th anniversary last year, we buried a time capsule, which, when you think about it, is more of a challenge than a celebration. After all, we need to be around to unearth the thing. The question at the front of my mind: how are we going to do that?
When you look at our history, you see that we have had two things throughout our existence: financial support and the ability to change. The Home started with a gift – “44 ½ acres…with a dwelling of ten rooms in good order” – and began accepting children. Around the midpoint of the 20th century, the Masonic Home expanded to include a Home for the Aged, a move that was made necessary by the changing needs of Masons in Virginia.
This move was made possible with support of donors and a series of major gifts from the Grand Lodge of Virginia. In 1953, $125,000 was given to the Home to begin construction. That was supplemented by just under $100,000 in 1954. The combined total works out to be more than $2 million in 2016 dollars. By 1955, the Masonic Home began admitting adult residents. The generosity of Masons in Virginia, through the Grand Lodge, made a necessary change possible.
Time goes on, wants and needs change. In 2001, we began the Outreach Program to serve Masons and their wives or widows in Southwest Virginia. It has since expanded to cover the entire state, as more of those we serve want to stay at Home. This allows our reach to grow beyond the ninety pristine acres east of Richmond.
Now, our grounds host a fitness center, gorgeous apartments, expansive library, and a continuum of care to that includes memory support. It is very likely that the Home in 50 years will look very little like the Home today. Nothing ever stays the same, and that is the thing that never changes.
How can you keep the Home going? Well, you can start here to begin.
 A dangerous pastime, I know.
 As well as demographic changes. The need for children’s homes was decreasing in general.
P.S. We can’t go back in time to see the Home as it was, but we can hop in the Wayback Machine and see what the website used to be.