Who was Stephen Poole Waltrip, for whom our Lodge was named and whose picture hangs in the foyer of our Lodge building. This question has been asked by many of our newly raised members.
S. P. Waltrip was born in Malden, Missouri on December 17, 1878. He was a child when his family moved to Texas. At the age of 16, he was teaching school in Walnut Springs then later taught at Buffalo, all the while still pursuing his own education at the University of Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas with B.S. and M.S. degrees. He was very proficient in mathematics which happened to be his favorite subject.
In 1910, S. P. Waltrip settled in Houston where he served as Superintendent of Schools in Harrisburg, Brunner, and Houston Heights. These were later annexed by the City of Houston. When the Heights area was annexed by Houston in 1918, the then well-known and highly respected S. P Waltrip was named Principal of John Reagan Sr. High School. In the prime of his life and at the peak of a brilliant career, the much beloved S. P. Waltrip died February 2, 1932, at the age of 53.
Brother Waltrip received his Degrees in Freemasonry at Reagan Lodge No. 1037, A.F. & A.M., and was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on March 17, 1920. While he was growing in light and knowledge he was honored by being elected as Worshipful Master. He served Reagan Lodge for the 1923-1924 masonic year.
Brother Waltrip was married to Hattie Kay Kahn, in this marriage was blessed with twin sons. Brother Maurice C. Waltrip and Brother Robert E. Waltrip, both of which became masons within the same community in which their father served. Not only as an educator but a mason as well. Brother Waltrip was fond of the great outdoors and spent much time walking in the woods of what is today the bustling Spring Branch section of the City of Houston. He was also an ardent fisherman and as a hobby, he enjoyed carpentry and was skilled at cabinet-making.
When Brethren who conceived the idea of a new Lodge in the Spring Branch area of Harris County, it was decided the Lodge be named Spring Branch Lodge. Which was addressed in the dispensation to the Grand Lodge of Texas to form a new Lodge. In order to avoid any possible confusion by sound and similarity of name in relation to the Grand Lodge already chartering Spring Lodge No. 1174 in the same area, it was advised that the Brethren submit an alternative name for the Lodge. The Grand Lodge made the suggestion that the new Lodge be name after a late distinguished Brother of the Craft.
The Brethren that set out to establish this new lodge were then also members of Reagan Lodge No. 1037. With this suggestion from Grand Lodge, the deliberations did not take long, being armed with the strong suggestion from Grand Lodge. These men unanimously agreed that the Lodge name should bear the name of Brother Stephen Poole Waltrip. The Grand Lodge also concurred that the name would be fitting for the new lodge established in that area of Harris County. Whom was known to the public as a leader in education.
S. P. Waltrip Lodge No. 1328, A.F. & A.M. is proud and privileged to be named after a pillar in education in Harris County.
On December 16, 1882 in Center City Texas, Center City Lodge 558 opened its doors for the first time. For almost 91 one years, Center City Lodge 558 was a community gathering place for the small Central Texas town. On September 11, 1973 Center City Lodge 558 merged with Goldthwaite Lodge 694. The Lesser Lights of Center City Lodge 558 were turned off for the last time inside the old lodge building. Brother Floyd Green had the task of deposing of the old lodge building, he took the Lesser Lights back to his home and stored them in his cellar. The lights remained in that small cellar for more than 40 years. In 2014, the old lamp made of old car parts and plumbing supplies was rediscovered while the Green family was cleaning out the cellar. They were passed on to Brother Floyd Green’s grandson, Brother Chris Green of SP Waltrip Lodge 1328 in Houston TX. On July 5, 2016 at the SP Waltrip Lodge installation, the old lamp was turned on again as Brother Green was installed as the Worshipful Master of the Lodge.