The History of Alt Heidelberg Lodge N° 821

The Lodge "Ruprecht zu den Fünf Rosen", known affectionately as R5R, was instituted on 16. November 1856. Ninty-nine years later, on 1. September 1955, Alt Heidelberg Lodge No. 821 became a Deputy Lodge of R5R. 

The initital membership of R5R numbered 23 Brethren. In 1862 Brother Johann Casper Bluntli joined R5R. Brother Bluntli was a Swiss national and a teacher of public law. Elected as Worshipful Master the mebership jumped to 76 members in 1867.  

During this time the desire arose for a permanent lodge home. On 13 May 1868 the corner stone was laid in Klingenteich No. 8 for a new buidling. On 24 December 1868 the first degree work was performed in the completed building.  

The consecration of the Lodge took place on 28 and 29 May 1870.  

During the French-German war the building was turned into a field hospital. After the war, the building became home again for the brethren. After a short absence Br. Bluntli returned and became Master again. In 1881 when he laid down his working tools, the Lodge had 106 members on its roll.  

In the twenties, it even exceeded 140 members. Brethren of the Lodge represented the intellectual and middle class of Heidelberg, i.e. University teachers, musicians, artists, business and craftsmen. Amongst them was Brother Karl Metz the founder of the voluntary fire department and Brother Fritz Gabler, the founder of Heidelberg Vocational School for Hotel Management, which became well known throughout Europe. Brother Gabler was also the owner of the Europäischer Hof. 

When Hitler came to power a shadow fell over the Lodge and the Brethren. Freemasonry was forbidden in 1934 and the building became a laboratory for a chemical factory. In the years preceding 1945 the Nazi regime had systematically plundered, pillaged and ravagedevery Masonic Lodges in Germany not sparing R5R.  

After the war many American Brethren were active in setting up new Lodges. One such Brother was Brother Peter M. Rasmussen who found himself situated on October 6th, 1946 in Heidelberg. Brother Peter became immediatly involved in various Masonic activities. He became aquinted with the Master and Brethren of R5R who were endeavoring to regain possession of their building. Brother Pete's good offices proved useful.  

When in 1947 the local military Government learned of the situation, the City Fathers of Heidelberg were given exactly 24 hours to return the building to it's rightful owners. Needless to say the red tape was cut and the request was promptly complied with.  

On 1 September 1956 Alt Heidelberg receive its charter to work under the Mother Lodge Ruprecht zu den 5 Rosen No. 372, which at that time was under the stewardship of W.Br. Karl Senger.  

With wholehearted approval from R5R the Brethren of Alt Heidelberg adapted their Lodge Jewel as our Bijou. It took many years for both Lodges to renovate the war torn building. In 1961 Alt Heidelberg's PM Manfred Hecht and Senior Warden Adolf W. Hanno-Ingels of R5R appealed for the sum of $20.000 for the building fund. Renovations continued and a representative Masonic edifice graced the City of Heidelberg. The building saw German and American friendship being formed, splendid fun filled table lodges and various Masonic activities were almost a daily occurence with the York Rite, Eastern Star, DeMolay's and Rainbowgirls moving into the building. The building being under an historical protection by the city consumed alone between 1983 and 1987 DM70.000 on restauration costs. In 1988 the brethren of R5R sold the building.  

For various reasons Alt Heidelberg Lodge No. 821 vacated the building in December 1987 and moved to Adler Gasthaus in St. Ilgen. After the City of St. Ilgen condemned the Adler, the Lodge moved to the Schützenhaus behind the PHV and in March of 1991 to Mannheim. 

On April 29 1990 R5R consecreted their new temple in Kirchheim, Heidelberg. The consecration was performed by Most Worshipful Br. Helmut Zetschke, Grand Master, AF & AM. Distinguished guests included the Lord Mayor of Heidelberg, Right Worshipful Brother Gerhard Severin, Past Grand Master of the American Canadian Grand Lodge and Very Worshipful Brother Ray Herren, Past District Deputy Grand Master.  

In September 1998 Alt Heidelberg Lodge returned to its roots and began holding Lodge in the temple in Heidelberg-Kirchheim, the home of its Mother Lodge.