In early 1908, MW Bro. Francis Bowser1 gave permission for a Lodge of instruction to be held at Moyie, on the recommendation of Cranbrook Lodge, No. 34. There were also applications to him for a lodge at Creston, which he laid over awaiting a report from the R.W. Bro. Irvine, the D.D.G.M. of District No. 6.
A settlement was growing up at Creston on the Crow's Nest Pass Railway, 16 miles from Kootenay Landing, west of Nelson. Like all the growing places in the province the resident freemasons were anxious to have a masonic lodge. Accordingly in !908 an application was made to Grand Master W. K. Houston for a dispensation for Creston Lodge, later No. 542, which was granted by him on November 3, 1908 naming W. Bro, James Cook as W. Master after receiving a report made by R.W. Bro. Edward Elwell of Cranbrook Lodge, No. 34, D.D.G.M. for District No. 8. The lodge was instituted on January 7, 1909 by R.W. Bro. Elwell. The charter was granted at the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge in that year, and it was constituted on August 26, 1909 by R.W. Bro. A.B. Fenwick, of North Star Lodge, No. 30 at Fort Steele, D.D.G.M. for District No. 8.3
No less than seven dispensations for new lodges were issued by Grand Master Houston4; Salmon Arm Lodge at Salmon Arm with W. Bro. W.V. Leonard as W. Master, on June 27, 1908; Nicola Lodge at Nicola with W. Bro. N.L. Grommett as W. Master, August 11, 1908; Creston Lodge at Creston, with W. Bro. James Cook as W.M., on November 3, 1908; Selkirk Lodge at Moyie, with W. Bro. George T. McGregor as W.M. on December 23, 1908; Summerland Lodge at Summerland with W. Bro. John C. Robson as W. Master, on February 9, 1909; Lewis Lodge at New Westminster, with W. Bro. George E. Martin as W.N. on May 29, 1909; and Similkameen Lodge at Princeton, with W. Bro. F. Francis Pyman as W.M., on May 25, 1909.5
In 1906, the jurisdiction was divided into nine districts. The new arrangement appeared to be quite satisfactory at the time it was made and for some time thereafter, but in 1910 it became necessary to vary the districts again. District 3 took in the lodges at Arrowhead, Salmon Arm and Nicola. District 4 still consisted solely of Cariboo Lodge No. 4 at Barkerville; District 8 took in the lodges at Creston and Moyie, while to District 9 was added the lodges at Penticton, Summerland and Princeton.
One member of Creston Lodge No. 54, R.W. Bro. Edward Nailandaine, was to make an important contribution to the development of Freemasonry in the province.
Up to 1926 the masonic districts which make up the jurisdiction were indicated by numbers alone, In that year District Deputy Grand Master R.W. Bro. W.P. Marchant, later Grand Master, suggested that each should have both a number and a name. To illustrate his point he said that many of the brethren would not know to what portions of the province Districts Nos. 4 and 5 refer; but if these were known as Cariboo District No. 4 and Vancouver Island and North District No. 5, a better acquaintance and closer knowledge would surely follow. Lodges were distinguished by both Nnumber and name, and he thought the same rule should apply to the districts. The matter, of course, went to the Committee on Reports of District Deputy Grand Masters, who, that year, were all Past Grand Masters. The members of the Committee approved the suggestion of R.W. Bro. Marchant, and recommended that a small committee of Grand Lodge be appointed to deal with the matter at once. This was done, the Committee consisting of R.W. Bro. Marchant himself, of Vancouver and Quadra Lodge No. 2, at Victoria; R.R. Bro, J.A. Kidd of Kilwinning Lodge No. 59, at Vancouver; R.W. Bro. Edward Nailandaine of Creston Lodge No. 54, at Creston; Bro. W. Brown and W. Bro. Walter Owen of Zion Lodge, No. 77.
The report was to have been made at this meeting of Grand Lodge but the members of the Committee did not feel like giving an immediate decision, and the matter stood over till the next Annual Communication of Grand Lodge in 1927. There were several things which had to be considered in naming them. What was to be done where there was more than one lodge or several lodges, in one city, as in Vancouver. In such cases each district therein took the name of the city but with a different number. So the Committee, worked out in this way; District No. 1 became Victoria District, No. 1; District No. 2 became New Westminster District, No. 2; District No. 3 became Kamloops District No. 3; District No. 4 became Cariboo District No. 4; District No. 5 became Nanaimo District, No. 5, District No, 6 became West Kootenay District No. 6; District No. 7 became Kootenay-Boundary District No, 7; District No, 8 became East Kootenay District No. 8; District No, 9 became Okanagan District No. 9; District No. I0 became Atlin-Yukon District No. I0; District No. 11 became Prince Rupert District No. 11; the four districts in the City of Vancouver became respectively Vancouver District Nos. 12, 13, 14, and 15. This was approved by Grand Lodge. The Committee adds that the members of it believe that the adoption and use of these names will lead to a greater knowledge and acquaintance by the members of the Craft of the different portions of the jurisdiction and of the lodges which are in it, and that such knowledge will promote the good fellowship and harmony already existing. For the first time, the names of the districts are used in that part of the Report which gives the names of the districts as well as their numbers for the ensuing year.6
1."The 29th Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia was Francis Bowser, the elder brother of Grand Master W. J. Bowser. After a more adventurous career than his brother, he came to Vancouver in 1888, and in 1894 he joined Acacia Lodge, then in its infancy. In 1895 he was Treasurer of his Lodge. In 1896 he was Junior Warden; in 1897 Senior Warden; and in 1898. W. Master. In 1900 he was appointed D.D.G.M. for District No. 2. His report to Grand Lodge in 1901 shows the careful way in which he carried out his duties during his term of office, and, no doubt his conduct in this work accelerated his progress in Grand Lodge. In 1905 he was elected Senior Grand Warden; in 1906, Deputy Grand Master; and in 1907, Grand Master." Historical Notes and Biographical Sketches 1848 - 1935. Robie L. Reid. Victoria : 1945. p. 246.
2.See "History of Creston Lodge No. 54, Creston, B.C." by RW Brother Clarence F. Hayes, G.L. Report, 1944, p. 159. (See Proceedings of Grand Lodge, 1934, p. 145 et seq.
3.Historical Notes and Biographical Sketches 1848 - 1935. Robie L. Reid. Victoria : 1945. p. 259-60.
4.William Kyle Houston was born at Maghera, County Kerry, Ireland on Jan. 21, 1854. He was in the linen trade in Belfast for a number of years. In 1882 he went to Sydney, Australia and came to Victoria, B.C. in 1898. In partnership with H. J. Brady he established the Brady-Houston Pickling Co. He subsequently became a member of a firm of Dry Goods Manufacturers Agents with one Appleby, under the name of Appleby, Houston & Co., but later returned to the pickling business. He was an unsuccessful candidate for a seat in the local Legislature in 1909. He was elected Alderman for the City of Victoria in 1913. He died Nov. 19, 1916 and was buried in Ross Bay Cemetery.
5.Reid. p. 247.
6.Reid, p. 390.
Constitution of Creston Lodge No. 54