The Initiate's blog
Unity Lodge centennial coin

Unity Lodge no. 198 of Free and Accepted Masons of Washington is home of the North Bend Masons. Founded in 1912 in North Bend, Washington, Unity Lodge 198 is central to the North Bend community.

Unity Lodge 198 is associated with the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Washington, District 7.

Unity Lodge No. 198 is more than just a building on East North Bend Way; it is the spirit and soul of Brothers who live by the ideals championed in Freemasonry and illustrated in the Declaration of Independence. It is a place where men of all races and beliefs may gather to share in fellowship, self-improvement and service to community.

Fellowship between Brothers according to Masonic principles builds strong and lasting bonds, a keen sense of fellowship and pride in our Lodge.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Unity Lodge Brothers work together to promote the Masonic values of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth in ourselves by actively developing our knowledge of these principles and by sharing them in our community.

We understand and practice what it means to be a Mason inside and outside of the lodge. We support our Brothers, families, widows, our community and schools by donating time and money. In this way Unity Lodge contributes to the life of the twenty-first century man.

One of Masonry’s customs is not to solicit members; men must seek membership on their own through a Mason they know in Unity Lodge. The easiest way to begin the process of becoming a Freemason is to contact a Mason at Unity Lodge. (2b1 ask 1).

Masonic membership in Washington state is open to men age 18 or older who meet the qualifications and standards of character and intention, and who believe in a Supreme Being. Men of all ethnic and religious backgrounds are welcome. For details see Qualifications.

You will complete a petition for membership with the help of a Mason willing to sponsor you. After the Mason submits your application, several members of the Unity Lodge will interview you so they can learn more about you and so that you can learn more about Freemasonry. If the interviewers are favorable, they present your application to the Lodge for a vote. If the vote is affirmative, you receive the Entered Apprentice degree - the first degree of Freemasonry. When you advance through the next two degrees, Fellowcraft and Master Mason you are full member of the Fraternity.

Six Steps to Becoming a Freemason

See Six Steps to Becoming a Freemason in this website to learn more about joining Unity Lodge.

Request more information

For more information about Freemasonry or to learn about being made a Mason at Unity #198, send a message to

Scholarship by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 ImageCreator

Each year the North Bend Masons, men of Unity Lodge No. 198, present a vocational scholarship in the memory of George Gaines, a good citizen of this community.

Brother Gaines worked to help his community and supported public education for all in the valley.

Here are a few of the things that he did:

  • Donated land and buildings for the Community Church in North Bend.
  • Donated the land for the library in North Bend.
  • Planted many flowers and shrubs around the area. One summer he planted rhododendrons from North Bend to the Snoqualmie summit, 25 miles of rhododendrons along the old Sunset Highway.

When the Gaines family donated funds to the North Bend Masonic Lodge in George's name, it was natural that the Lodge would establish a scholarship fund to honor him. That fund is The Gaines Family and Unity Lodge No. 198 Memorial Scholarship Trust.

The lodge uses income from the trust to provide scholarships for vocational training to graduates of the Snoqualmie Valley and Riverview school districts.

North Bend Masons chose to support vocational training because they believe that everyone has the right to earn a living to enable them to support themselves, and, later on, their families. Not everyone cares to become and engineer, an MBA, or a PHD. A person can make a good living in a job in a trade.



  • Age 16 - 30
  • Attendance at either King County School District 407 (RIverview: Cedarcrest High School) or 410 (Snoqualmie Valley: Mt Si High School or Two Rivers School)
  • Application to a trade or vocational school


For more information

Download the Gaines Scholarship application.

To ask about the Gaines Family and Unity Lodge No. 198 Memorial Scholarship send a message to

On Saturday, August 17, 2013, members of North Bend Mason’s Unity Lodge celebrated a century of service to the Valley with a moment of renewal. North Bend Masons struck a special coin for the occasion.

The lodge had been deconsecrated and darkened before then Grand Master of Washington, Bruce E. Vesper, ceremonially rededicated it for another 100 years of service with a symbolic presentation of oil, grain and wine.

Unity Lodge #198 officers for 2020
Unity Lodge No. 198 officers for 2020
Pictured, left to right: Chaplain: Bro. Chad Kilburn; Junior Deacon: Bro. Bryan Barker; Treasurer: Bro. Samuel McConnell; Worshipful Master: W Jaime Speicher; Senior Deacon: Bro. Joshua Coutts; Senior Warden: W Ken Hearing (not pictured); Secretary: W Dean Markley; Junior Warden: Bro. Michael Cramer
Unity Lodge No. 198 officers contact information
 Worshipful Master  W Jaime Speicher
 Senior Warden  W Ken Hearing
 Junior Warden  W Michael Cramer
 Secretary  W Dean Markley
 Treasurer  Bro. Samuel Allen McConnell
 Senior Deacon  Bro. Joshua Coutts
 Junior Deacon  Bro. Bryan Barker
 Chaplain  Bro. Chad Kilburn


W.B. Timothy R. Steiner, Grand Orator, gave the following remarks on the occasion of the Reconstitution of Unity Lodge #198 and its centennial celebration on August 17, 2013. The photo was taken during the construction of the Lodge Hall around 1914.

See links on the right sidebar under Unity Lodge History for a broad history of Unity Lodge and for brief biographies of a number of Masons of the valley. 

Most Worshipful Grand Master, Grand Lodge Members, Distinguished Guests, Friends, Brethren all. January 21st, 1912, one of the most important days in the history of Unity Lodge #198. This was the day that 10 Brothers gathered at the “Milwaukee Depot” in Northbend to discuss the future of Masonry in the Upper Snoqualmie Valley. They asked the good brothers of Fall City Lodge #66 to vouch for them in the formation of their own lodge in Northbend. This was as the history of the lodge reports, not done because of discontent with Fall City Lodge, but because as they put it “limited and time consuming transportation facilities of the day.” You see in 1912 the State had not yet completed what was to be the modern roadway being constructed through the pass. It was being constructed over paths built by the settlers and Native Americans of the region for horse and foot travel, so individual travel was difficult to say the least. In 1905, the first automobile had driven over Snoqualmie Pass, but the road was far from adequate, and frequently impassable. The road such that it was, underwent an upgrade in 1909 for the Alaska – Yukon Exposition in Seattle, and an automobile race across the pass was used to promote the event.But it wasn’t until 1915 that there was a new 2 lane roadway creating a permanent transportation route that connected Eastern and Western Washington called the Sunset Highway. Later in 1926 this highway was rebuilt on the abandoned Milwaukee Railroad right-of-way. Future improvements were made bringing us to the modern Interstate that we freely move east and west on. All this is just to make the point that when Unity Lodge was a lodge under dispensation in August of 1912 the 8.5 miles that currently stretches between Northbend and Fall City would have taken the Brethren hours by horseback or rail, and today is a simple 15 minute commute.

The Masons of the soon to be Lodge under dispensation presented a petition to Most Worshipful Brother Frank H. McCandless in August of 1912. The name of Unity was selected after some debate. A committee was put together to find a suitable place for the Brethren to meet. The brothers chose a building originally intended for the Eagles club, but never completed. It was decided that the lodge would share the building with the Odd Fellows Lodge, but that soon met complications, and the brethren went forward on their own. Finances were tight, but 12 brothers stepped forward to facilitate the completion of the building. A mortgage was taken out and work progressed on getting the lodge ready to perform the work of Mason’s. Timing was on Unity’s side. Clover Lodge in Tacoma was disposing of their lodge furniture, and for a nominal fee it was able to be procured. It only took 2 days to pack the furnishings and get them shipped to Northbend. Again an example of how much we take for granted today grabbing a U-Haul and a few people after work to accomplish such a task. At a ceremony June 11th, 1913, Most Worshipful Brother McCandless and the Brethren in attendance approved the Charter of Unity Lodge, and gave it the number 198. The 23 Charter members stood before the Grand Master and dedicated themselves to building a great tradition of Masonry in Northbend. They attested to the assembled members of Grand Lodge and to the brethren in attendance that they had confidence in the leadership of the Officers. Their faith was well founded.


Worshipful Master 2020

Worshipful Master Jaime Speicher

Jaime Speicher
Master for 2020
Unity Lodge #198

Unity Lodge 198

North Bend, Washington

Contact us

For the quickest response, click Send a Message at the bottom right of this screen. You can also direct a message to the Master of the Lodge.

To request general information about Unity Lodge or Freemasonry in general, send a message to


Mailing address

PO Box 563
North Bend, Washington 98045-0563


Emergency contact

Call (206) 617-3174


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Centennial coin

On Saturday, August 17, 2013, members of North Bend Mason’s Unity Lodge celebrated a century of service to the Valley with a moment of renewal. North Bend Masons struck a special coin for the occasion.

The lodge had been deconsecrated and darkened before then Grand Master of Washington, Bruce E. Vesper, ceremonially rededicated it for another 100 years of service with a symbolic presentation of oil, grain and wine.

North Bend Masons sponsor the Masonic Bikes for Books program to encourage students to read. Each year North Bend Masons contribute bicycles to children participating in reading programs in local elementary schools.

Toward that end, North Bend Masons are happy to bring the Masonic Bikes 4 Books program to students in Snoqualmie Valley Elementary schools to establish a love for reading early in life. North Bend Masons sponsor the annual Bikes for Books program with the participation of Singletrack Cycles of North Bend.

Over the past 3 years, the Laptops for Students program of Unity Lodge has given public school youngsters a good start in learning and keeping up with technology for their school work - ultimately so that each will have their highest level of success in their educations and beyond. This program is an expression of the principles we learn in Lodge meetings.

The Lodge provides a free laptop computer to qualified families with school-age children who don't have a computer at home for schoolwork. This program focuses on elementary schools in the Snoqualmie Valley School District and provides a reliable and easy-to-use computer for computer-assisted learning. Since the beginning of the program in 2016 the program has gifted 117 laptops. As the school districts began providing devices for students in 2020, we phased out the Laptops for Students program.


Photos relating to the Lodge

Musings of an initiate - one who has not yet learned the basics of Freemasonry and who brings a lifetime of independent development from a variety of social and religious experiences. Not an outsider in spirit, but yet to become an insider in fact.

These comments may show simple ignorance as well as, possibly, important insights to sharing Freemasonry with our contemporaries.

This blog is written by a stubborn, opinionated and inexperienced Master Mason, who may sometimes be (unintentionally) disruptive.

In following posts I muse about the practices of Masonry as I have observed them over three years.
How to become a Mason Read more

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