Copper Penny Masonic Lodge

On March 7, 1980 a meeting of 36 Masons, who either lived or worked in the Township, was held to discuss the possibility of forming a local lodge. The men were from six different area lodges and agreed that their Masonry would mean more to them if they met with their neighbors.

The Copper Penny Lodge was granted a dispensation by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio on October 17, 1981, and received its charter on October 16, 1982. Glen Wireman was elected as Copper Penny's first Worshipful Master.

The group originally met at the William Farr Lodge in Girard until they found a permanent meeting place in Vienna. The men chipped in about $30 in pennies as a start for a lodge in Vienna. The Vienna Grange building (formerly Vienna School Number 1) on the Vienna Township Green was secured as a lodge site. The building was purchased from the Vienna Grange for $1.

The land underneath the structure was leased from the Vienna Presbyterian Church.

Copper Penny Lodge, circa 1985.Image courtesy of John Hinely.

The old Grange Hall was completely refurbished and was officially referred to as the Copper Penny Lodge #778 Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio, due to the original donation of 3,000 copper penny coins. The structure was lifted so that a basement could be constructed. The lodge room, decorated with blue carpet and wallpaper, was located on the second floor. New woodwork and window shutters were added to the second floor windows. The fellowship hall was on the main floor. The rocks from the old foundation of the building served as landscaping.

An open house was held on January 23, 1983 at the Lodge after the extensive remodeling. The Vienna Township Trustees declared January 23rd Copper Penny Lodge Day. [1] The address for the Lodge was 4275 Warren-Sharon Road.

A new wooden cupola was constructed by Patrick Arnal for the top of the building. Four stained glass panels featuring well-known Masonic symbols of the square and compass were designed for the project. The panels featured Masonic blue and yellow glass. Each of the panels contained a real copper penny in the design with the "head" of the penny facing outward. The year on each penny placed in the glass was from 1985.

Copper Penny Lodge Cupola, 2023
Copper Penny Lodge Cupola, 2023
A 1985 penny was soldered in the circle at the top of the compass in each stained glass panel. This panel appears reversed because it was taken from inside the cupola.
The penny faced outward on each stained glass panel in the cupola. There were four total panels facing north, south, east, and west.

To fulfill their philanthropic mission, a scholarship in memory of charter member Howard F. Everett was established. The scholarship, dating back to the mid 1990s, was awarded to deserving Mathews High School senior(s) each spring at the Annual Mathews High School Awards Ceremony.

Copper Penny Lodge Room, 2009Photo from the Society's archives.

Members of the lodge eventually organized an annual car show in 2008 called the Howard F. Everett Copper Penny Car Show, to raise money for the scholarship. The show was held in the parking lot near the Vienna Township Green, adjacent to the Copper Penny Lodge.  The show was was held each year, except in 2020 due to the COVD-19 pandemic, but resumed in 2021 with record high attendance. 2021 was the final year the car show was held.

An additional scholarship was established circa 2014 in memory of charter member William Haynie and awarded to a deserving Mathews High School senior each spring.

The stone tablet, which served as the front stoop of the building for over 100 years, was engraved with the names of the Charter Members of the Copper Penny Lodge. The tablets is still located outside of the Lodge. 
Copper Penny Lodge sign in 2022.

Due to dwindling membership, the tough decision was made in the spring of 2022 by members to move towards closure of the chapter. Since the building was historic, Lodge members thought that it would be fitting for the Vienna Historical Society to take ownership of the building. In May of 2022, Copper Penny Lodge Secretary William Saylor contacted Vienna Historical Society President Christine Novicky to discuss this possibility. The Vienna Historical Society's Board of Directors had lengthy discussions and several meetings about the potential acquisition and, at the August 11, 2022 Board meeting, voted unanimously to purchase the building.

The Lodge was officially closed on January 10, 2023. The building was officially sold to the Vienna Historical Society for $1 on February 11, 2023; President Christine Novicky presented the payment of 100 pennies to Lodge Secretary, William Saylor.

After the dissolution of the Lodge in Vienna, many of the Copper Penny Masons joined the Cortland Masonic Lodge #529 in Cortland, Ohio. The Howard F. Everett Scholarship was continued by the Cortland Lodge in 2023.

Copper Penny Masonic Lodge Officer History

Past Masters Secretary
1981-1982 Glen Wireman Paul Gibson
1982-1983 Howard Everett Paul Gibson
1983-1984 Richard Miller Howard Everett
1984-1985 Jon Schmid Howard Everett
1985-1986 Garland Stoneman Howard Everett
1986-1987 Alan Popowich Howard Everett
1987-1988 Robert Thompson Howard Everett
1988-1989 Alan Fiest Howard Everett
1989-1990 Gary Wireman Howard Everett
1990-1991 Gary Fiest Howard Everett
1991-1992 Elmer Liebforth Howard Everett
1992-1993 Patrick Arnal Howard Everett
1993-1994 Kevin Turner Howard Everett
1994-1995 Randall Fiest Patrick Arnal
1995-1996 William Lynn Patrick Arnal
1996-1997 Lloyd Brink William Lynn
1997-1998 Fred Shaffer William Lynn
1998-1999 Thomas Carr William Lynn
1999-2000 Ronald Hickox William Lynn
2000-2001 Donald Tidd Jr. William Lynn
2001-2002 John Jones William Lynn
2002-2003 David Urey Patrick Arnal
2003-2004 Ross Lehman Patrick Arnal
2004-2005 John Jones Patrick Arnal
2005-2006 Thomas Carr Patrick Arnal
2006-2007 John Jones Patrick Arnal
2007-2008 Thomas Carr Patrick Arnal
2008-2009 Jeffrey Jamison Patrick Arnal
2009-2010 Jeffrey Jamison William Lynn
2010-2011 Jeffrey Jamison William Lynn
2011-2012 Patrick Haynie William Lynn
2012-2013 David Williams William Lynn
2013-2014 William W. Saylor William Lynn
2014-2015 William W. Saylor William Lynn
2015-2016 William W. Saylor William Lynn
2016-2017 William W. Saylor William Lynn
2017-2018 Douglas Lynn William Lynn
2018-2019 Brian Muresan William W. Saylor
2019-2020 Brian Muresan William W. Saylor
2020-2021 Robert D. Fitzsimmons William W. Saylor
2021-2022 Kevin Levin William W. Saylor
2022-2023 Kevin Levin William W. Saylor

Updated 11/20/2023
This entry is adapted from William Lynn, "Copper Penny Masonic Lodge" in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), pp. 199-200.
Sapino, Brenda. "Penny Ante: Vienna lodge salvages old meeting hall with small change," Warren Tribune Chronicle, January 5, 1983, pp. B1 & B5. (Note that the article states that the initial donation of $30 worth of copper pennies was cemented into the floor of the entranceway into the building in an arrangement that spelled out Copper Penny Lodge No. 778. This did not happen when Lodge members were asked in 2023.
[1] Vienna Grange #1537 History 1901-1991 by Margaret Mealy and Evelyn Butler
List of officers provided by William W. Saylor.
Images courtesy of Christine Novicky, unless otherwise noted.
Additional contributions by Christine Novicky, February 2023.