Meaning and History of the Golden Trowel Award

With tonight’s award ceremony of the Golden Trowel Award from Hill City Lodge #456, we wanted to share with all readers the background on this, the highest award that a Lodge can bestow upon a Brother Mason.

About the Golden Trowel Award

 

 GoldenTrowelSince its inception the Golden Trowel Award continues to be an exciting means for Lodges to recognize and honor distinguished members with an official award from the Grand Lodge of Texas. It is for use by all Texas Lodges. The Golden Trowel is the Lodge’s formal recognition of a Brother for his devoted service to Masonic principles in general or to his Lodge. It is intended for the Brother who, year after year, quietly, but actively demonstrates his devotion to the teachings of Masonry without thought of recognition or special honors.

Every Lodge has such members. They spread the living cement that builds our Fraternity into a true Brotherhood. You will find them at labor in the kitchens, on the work committees, in public office, on community projects, in service clubs, heavily involved in their church activities and in schools – anywhere that a true and steady hand of assistance is needed.

It is to those Master Craftsmen that the Golden Trowel Award is designated as the highest award a Lodge can bestow upon an individual member.
This award is not intended to replace or supersede any individual recognition award already established by a Lodge. It provides the advantages of a single, official award which is recognized state wide.

How it Began

From the Texas Grand Lodge;

Our Golden Trowel Award originated at a place called “Armadillo Acres” – the get-away home, or country retreat of Past Grand Master Leonard P. Harvey. In the Fall of 1989 while at “Armadillo Acres” for a bit of a breather prior to the upcoming Grand Lodge session, Grand Master Harvey, Deputy Grand Master A.D. Hanna and Grand Senior Warden Fred E. Allen were discussing possible recipients of the prestigious Sam Houston Medal given annually to outstanding Masons. During those discussions, Deputy Grand Master Hanna opined:

“We are always giving special recognition to brethren on a Grand Lodge level, and I don’t understand why we can’t recognize deserving guys at the lodge level.” He mentioned that in nearly every lodge there are the rather obscure brothers who day in and day out do the “little things” for Masonry and for his lodge, and he does those things without expectation of reward or recognition. He went on to say those are the brethren who work in the kitchen, sweep the floors, do plumbing and carpentry work, mow the yard, plant and maintain flowers — and, yes – they are those who pick up the disabled and bring them to lodge meetings, see to the transportation and other needs of the widows and others who are less fortunate for one reason or another. While talking about his idea, Brother Hanna was sitting in “the red chair” twiddling between his fingers a small golden trowel that was given to Brother Harvey’s father-in-law several years ago when he purchased lots at a Dallas cemetery. The proverbial “light came on” and Brother Hanna said: “We can call it the “Golden Trowel Award.” That is the way it happened, and it has been carried forward ever since.