While not among the original lodges that met to form the Grand Lodge of Delaware in 1806, Union Lodge No. 5 is actually older than all of them. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania chartered it on June 24, 1765 as Lodge No. 5 on their register. Union Lodge No. 5 remained loyal to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania until 1816 when it finally took its place as Union No. 5 in the Grand Lodge of Delaware a spot that had been reserved for them at the formation of the Grand Lodge in 1806.
Union Lodge No. 5 of Middletown has a proud history over its lifetime, and has maintained that tradition over the last fifty years. Union No. 5 was like most other Lodges in the 1950’s. They reached a membership high of 139 in 1956, and from that high the Lodge membership started falling, and reached a low of 110 members in 1970. The membership stayed between 110 and 120 until 1985.
In October 1977, Past Master Elton P. Holland was installed as the Grand Master of Masons in Delaware. In 1984, several events happened that changed the course of history for Union No. 5. First, Brother Clarence Pierce, PM passed on and left his entire estate to Union No. 5, including his house, land, car, household items and Dart-Kraft stock. Second, the old Lodge building, with the Lodge room on the third floor, needed to be brought up to date with major upgrades to the systems and structure. The costs of these upgrades were estimated at in excess of $70,000 and the Lodge would still have an old building with two steep flights of steps to get in the Lodge room. The alternative was to build a new lodge room.
Brother Harry A. Schagrin donated a piece of land on West Part Place. The inherited property was sold, as was the old Lodge building and property. Plans were drawn and approved by the membership of the Lodge and the Grand Lodge. The Lodge building was built by Phillips Home Builders, owned by Brother Carroll C. Burris, Jr., PM, and members donated the purchase price of the chairs in the Lodge room. On March 16, 1986, Grand Master Henry G. Law and his staff set the cornerstone, and on April 27, 1986 Grand Master Law and staff again did the honors of dedicating the Lodge room.
The first official Lodge meeting in the new building was held on the first Tuesday in May, 1986 at 8:00 pm, with PM Carroll C Burris, presiding as Worshipful Master. The building was finished by the members, including the basement and the kitchen. Membership during this time began to climb, going from 117 in 1984 to 142 in 1990.
In October 1995, Past Master James E. Waecker, Sr. was installed as the Grand Master of Masons in Delaware, making him the sixth Grand Master from Union Lodge No. 5.
A memorial library was added to the main building in 1996, to house the many artifacts, some dating to the 1760’s when the Lodge was first chartered, that were discovered stored in the basement of a local bank. Again, the addition was built by Phillips Home Builders, and the entire cost was donated by Past Master Carroll C. Burris, Jr. and his wife Jean.
In June 1998, the members decided to start a scholarship program, with a goal of giving three $1,000.00 scholarships to graduating students attending the local high school. The first three scholarships were awarded in June of 1999. The scholarship money is raised by the Lodge members, who hold a sporting clay shooting event on the first Sunday of May each year. So far the Lodge has awarded 21 (as of 2005) scholarships.
The membership has increased to 156 members in 2003, and the Lodge sponsors Bethel #4 of Job’s Daughters International for young ladies.