Out of 14 Masonic lodges in the Onondaga District, District Deputy Grand Master Kevin J. Parker said he has only given out a handful of 50-year pins.
Most recently, Parker joined other Masons for an evening of celebration Wednesday Nov. 18 at Skaneateles Lodge 522 to recognize member Joseph Spalding for his 50 years of service to the craft.
"It's my privilege to go around the county and represent our Grand Master Edward G. Gilbert," Parker said after presenting Spalding with a large plaque and a pin to wear representing 50 years as a Mason.
Spalding, who writes "Along the Lakeshore" for the Skaneateles Press, said he was first introduced to the brotherhood by a friend and neighbor, and at the time it wasn't unusual for men in their early 20s to join the fraternal organization.
"Probably if he hadn't [introduced me to Masons], I wouldn't have joined," he said.
Though he hasn't been a very active member in recent years, Spalding said his attraction to the Masons was also due to his interest in local history. He learned a lot about old Skaneateles from the older members, most of who have passed away.
Despite his interest in history and a friendly push to learn more about Masons, Spalding also had a family influence, as his grandfather was a Mason.
"I've always been close to the craft," he said.