Thirty-one years after the Oakland Area Council was organized, the Order of the Arrow in Oakland was established on July 1, 1947. Because the Oakland Council did not have a lodge, the first arrowmen of the new lodge were actually inducted in other councils including Royaneh lodge, the San Francisco chapter of the Order of the Arrow. The first five members of the new lodge that would be called Machek N’Gult Lodge 375 were Ralph Clement (adult leader), John Musgrove (adult leader-SM), Paul Meier (youth leader), Bill Hopachuk (youth leader) and Oakland District Executive Don MacDougal. It is not currently known where these members took their ordeals.
On Saturday October 5, 1947 and under the direction of Royaneh Lodge, twenty-five Scouts and leaders were inducted into Machek N’Gult Lodge during ceremonies held at Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland hills. Afterwards a dinner was held in the mess hall at Camp Dimond. Some of the new arrowmen included BC Cain, Dr. Robert Adams, Frank Zografos and Bob Delaruelle. At the same event, Paul Meirer was named chief of the Lodge, Frank Zagrafos was elected secretary and Bill Seaver elected Treasurer.
The totem for the new lodge was selected to be a Golden Bear as some of the original members of the new lodge were students at UC Berkeley. When the initial bylaws of the new lodge were created in October of 1947 the original name created was “N’Gult Machek” and not “Machek N’Gult”. This difference in name was due to how its meaning was interpreted, “N’Gult Machek” stood for Bear Golden whereas “Machek N’Gult” stood for Golden Bear which is what the lodge name was meant to be. The bylaws were changed to correct the name and the first lodge charter issued by the National Order of the Arrow Committee in January of 1948 indicated the correct spelling and meaning of the lodge.
The first official meeting of the Machek N’Gult lodge took place in January 1948 at the Camp Dimond mess hall when Paul Meier was elected Chief of the new lodge. Machek N’Gult lodge would become of member of Section 12-B of the Order of the Arrow that also included the following lodges: Royaneh #282 (San Francisco), Kaweah #379 (Alameda), Stanford-Ojato #207 (Stanford), Mow-A-Toc #262 (Eureka) and Swegedaigea 263 (Napa).
On October 31, 1948 the first annual business meeting of Machek N’Gult Lodge was held in the Camp Dimond mess hall. This would also be the last meeting the lodge would ever hold at Dimond due to the forced sale of the camp to the Oakland Public Schools. At this meeting seven new ordeal members were inducted into the Order and members of Royaneh Lodge would stage the first brotherhood ceremony. During its first year as a lodge 78 members were inducted into Machek N’Gult. With the closing of Camp Dimond at the end of 1948, Camp Dimond-O and Los Mochos became the two locations for ceremonies and ordeals by the Lodge. Camp Dimond will always be known as the location where Machek N’Gult lodge was founded. Since Dimond-O could not be used during the winter months, Los Mochos was used as the main site for ceremonies between October and May.
The Arrow Point, the official newsletter of Machek N’Gult lodge was first published in January of 1949 as a way to provide additional communication to its members. Some sixty years later, the Arrow Point continues to be the newsletter of our combined lodges. In July of 1949, Machek N’Gult Lodge had the honor of inducting a new lodge into the Order of the Arrow during ceremonies held at the Redwood Area Council’s Camp Tish Tang along the banks of the Trinity River in Humboldt County. Machek N’Gult helped setup the ceremonies site and inducted the first 18 members into the new lodge that would be known as Mow-A-Toc lodge 262.
Between 1949 and early 1950 OA founder E. Urner Goodman constructed a stone fireplace in his barn which became known as the Brotherhood Barn in Bondville, Vermont. A few OA Lodges from across the Country sent rocks to Goodman that were inscribed with the name or number of their Lodge that were incorporated into the stone fireplace.
Although Machek N’Gult does not have their name on one of the rocks, one of the rocks in the fireplace is inscribed with the Camp Dimond-O logo <O>. The <O> rock was submitted by Machek N’Gult and Dimond-O staff members Frank Zografos and Gordon Osborne. Machek N’Gult is one of only a handful of lodges to have a permanent fixture in the Goodman fireplace. The Dimond-O rock is located in the center of the mantel and directly above the fireplace opening.
On October 6, 1951, a vigil ceremony was held at Camp Royaneh by Royaneh Lodge where Don MacDougal received the first Vigil honor in Machek N’Gult lodge. Don MacDougal was the main motivating force behind the founding of Machek N’Gult in 1947 when the first 25 members were inducted into the Order of the Arrow and for his efforts he was honored as being the first vigil member of Machek N’Gult lodge. At this same time the lodge had expanded from those initial 25 members in 1947 to 249 arrowmen by the end of 1952.
In the summer of 1953, Machek N’Gult brotherhood member Ed Crinnion was involved in one of the most iconic scout paintings of all time. It was at the National Jamboree in Irvine, CA that artist Normal Rockwell was staging a photo-shoot for a new painting. An actor was portraying a scoutmaster watching over his troop of sleeping scouts. The scouts sleeping in the made-up tents were all from Troop 95 of the Oakland Council including young scout Howard Lincoln (the President of the Seattle Mariners baseball team). Ed was also a member of Troop 95 and was helping his troop during the photo-shoot. The actor though came wearing the wrong type of shoes that could not be used in the picture. Ed did his good deed and lent the boots off his own feet to the actor. The iconic Rockwell painting that was completed a few years later would be known as “The Scoutmaster”. But the boots that are worn by the Scoutmaster in the painting are from Machek N’Gult member and Eagle Scout Edmund Crinnion.
One of the highlights of 1954 was the Area 12-B conclave held up in the town of Eureka. Thirty-seven arrowmen from Machek N’Gult gathered for the two-day event. The transportation to and from the conclave was courtesy of a United States Coast Guard plane which was flying an orienteering flight from Oakland to Eureka. At the conclave Jim Johnson from Hayward was elected Area 12-B section chief. In October of the same year the members of Machek N’Gult lodge labored hard to develop the council property across the creek from the main gate at Los Mochos. This location would become known as Cardiac Hill due to the steep climb that was necessary to get to the site. Ordeal and Brotherhood ceremonies would be held atop the second rock outcropping for forty years from 1954 until the 1990’s. For years smudge pots were placed along the trail that led the way up to the rock and illuminating the entire hillside. In November of the same year another plane ride took 24 members on an excursion over Yosemite and Camp Dimond-O. According to the Arrow Point newsletter from January of 1957, the first pocket flap (known as the F1) was issued by Machek N’Gult for a mere $0.40 a piece (the same patch can be found on eBay these days for over $150). During January 1957 it was decided to divide Machek N’Gult into two Chapters. Chapter 1 would handle the Sunset, Lake, Central & Castle districts (the Oakland area) while Chapter 2 would handle the Chabot, Arroyo, Redwood, South, Twin Valley & Mission Peak districts (Castro Valley, Hayward, Fremont & Pleasanton area). This was done to make the lodge operations easier to handle.
The legend of Eden Chapter is believed to have begun during this same time period when a group of Scouters upset over the new chapter alignment tried to create their own chapter in the lodge. Eden was not a council district but an area known as Eden Township and located in present day Hayward near the area of Chabot Community College. The township was incorporated into the City of Hayward in the late 1950’s. The members of the new chapter went as far as to create their own pocket patch using the distinctive totem of the golden bear with Eden Chapter proudly displayed. The chapter did not succeed and its members continued on in the Lodge. The patch created for Eden Chapter has become one of the rarest Lodge Patches associated with Machek N’Gult. Some patch collectors have even suggested that the Eden Chapter patch predates the first Machek N’Gult patch and was the first pocket flap in the entire state of California. We have never been able to find any proof supporting that theory. In 1962, members Jerry Abad, Jim Bowles and other Machek members performed a vigil ceremony at Fort Ord during a special ceremony.
Machek N’Gult once again had the honor of inducting a new lodge into the Order of the Arrow when over the weekend of April 24, 1964 at Camp Stuart near Saratoga, the Lodge inducted 88 youth and 9 adult members into Miwok Lodge 439 of the Santa Clara Council. Two months earlier, on February 10, the Oakland Council and the San Francisco Council merged forming the San Francisco Bay Area Council. The induction ceremony for Miwok Lodge would be one of the final tasks of Machek N’Gult lodge before it merged with Royaneh Lodge.
Seventeen years after Machek N’Gult was formed at Camp Dimond in the Oakland hills in 1947, the last official business of the lodge took place on December 13th, 1964 at a joint banquet and business meeting held at Goodman’s restaurant in Oakland’s Jack London Square. Royaneh Lodge 282 and Machek N’Gult Lodge 375 would merge forming the new Order of the Arrow lodge of the SFBAC