This is the history of how Faith Masonic Lodge No. 1158 acquired this life size painting of Brother George Washington.
In Early May of 1924, an artist by the name of Peter Plotkin, a famed artist from Petrograd, Russia, came to Wichita Falls to visit a relative, Nathan Marantz. When Mr. Plotkin arrived, he had many paintings that remained from sales he had gone to in Dallas and other Texas cities. Among these paintings was one of particular interest to Marantz. Having just received his Master’s degree, brother Marantz requested that the painting, “George Washington the Mason” be hung in the lodge room of Faith Lodge No. 1158 for all the masons of Wichita Falls to view.
The Junior College of Wichita Falls had been searching for and acquiring pictures and painting to be hung in the college. Mrs. Addicks, their representative, viewed the painting of George Washington and expressed a desire to purchase it for the amount of $500.00 dollars. There was one caveat however, Mrs. Addicks made arrangements with the college to purchase it, but all masonic emblems would have to be removed.
At this point, G.W. Hurd, the secretary of Faith Lodge immediately contacted brother Glenn Groves to inform him of the college’s intent. Brothers Groves and Guy Rogers as well as other brethren secured an option to purchase the painting as to preserve it.
Contributions from individuals and other masonic bodies of Wichita Falls were collected in the amount of $300.00. Plotkin, the artist, after some pressure from brethren and his relative Nathan Marantz, agreed that the painting should become the property of a masonic lodge. Plotkin sold the painting, “George Washinton the Mason” for $300.00 in May of 1924 to Masons of Wichita Falls.
Over the years, after the painting had been hanging in lodge rooms where smoking was permitted, it experienced a great deal of smoke damage, as well as large dents and bulges in the canvas from being hung incorrectly. It was decided that the painting was in dire need of restoration.
WM Kirby Pacheco decided to begin a George Washington restoration fundraiser, the lodge held a dinner that raised approximately $600, which was well shy of the amount that was needed to get the job done. When Brother Kenneth Adair became Worshipful Master in 2007, he started the fundraisers and took on the challenge of finding a reputable firm to do the restoration. George was given a going away dinner and the public was invited for a last look and for dinner, the price of the tickets is what added to the funds needed to refurbish it. In Feb of 2009, Las Negras Studio, LLC was contracted to restore the painting to its original condition. The painting was delivered and the work began. Finally on Aug 13, 2009, Faith Lodge retook possession and it was hung in The Faith Masonic Lodge Room where it remains today.
Plotkin stated that he considered the painting to be worth $10,000.00 and was disposing of it for approximately the cost of securing a model in making the painting.
All the original documents show that brothers J. Glenn Groves and Guy Rogers were appointed trustees and the title was invested in them for the Masons of Wichita Falls. It was further stated that the painting was to be hung in the lodge room of Faith Masonic Lodge No. 1158 until such time as there is built in Wichita Falls, a Masonic Building housing all the Masonic bodies and in such building, this painting shall be fittingly displayed.