History of the Valley of Alexandria
An anniversary of the beginning of the Scottish Rite in Alexandria, Virginia can be – and has been – observed based on either of two dates.
This arises because the Letters Temporary were issued by the SGIG in Virginia in 1910; the formal charters were granted by the Supreme Council on October 16, 1911 at its Biennial Session. (This is comparable to the Blue Lodge system whereby a Dispensation is issued by the Grand Master for a newly-formed Lodge to operate until an official charter is later approved by the delegates at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge.) Of the five observances since Alexandria‟s inception, one was related to the 1910 beginning and four to the 1911 charter year.
The contents of this writing are generally reported on a chronological basis. However, several items are of a specific nature and spread over a number of years.
Where names are mentioned in the text, the Scottish Rite degree or honor of the individual is that held at the time of the incident being described. Many of these men may have later received further honors. The SGIG term refers to Sovereign Grand Inspector General.
Sources for the preparation of this history included: three previous historical sketches (Boyd J. Richards, 33° (1960), Odie R. Howell, Jr., 33° (1986), Steven M. Hicks, 33° (2001), a review of all the Minutes of Valley meetings over the years, other documents, and, of course, my own involvement and recollections over a period of nearly 53 years.
Walter S. Downs, 33°, Grand Cross January 2011