William H. Carney Lodge #200 (B.P.O.E.)

First, a little history lesson, with the help of Wikipedia: William Harvey Carney was the first African-American to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Carney was born a slave in Norfolk, Virginia and escaped to Massachusetts through the Underground Railroad. He later served in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as a sergeant, and took part in the July 18th, 1863 assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina. He received his medal for saving the American flag and planting it on the parapet, and although wounded, holding it aloft while the Union troops charged. Recognizing that the Federal troops needed to retreat under fire, he wrapped the flag around himself and struggled across the battlefield, getting wounded twice more, before returning the flag to the Union lines. Later, he modestly said, "Boys, I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground." He died in Boston many years later, and is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery. The west end elementary school, the Carney Academy. is named after him. As is the William H. Carney Lodge #200 (B.P.O.E.).

The lodge itself is like many neighborhood lodges, clubs and fraternal order meeting spots, in the sense that is a bit rundown and has definitely seen better days. The members of the Carney Lodge partake in a number of fund raising events and activities, including hosting a Christmas party for neighborhood children and seeing that they receive holiday gifts. Although open to the public, it is necessary to ring a doorbell at the Lodge to be admitted. The Barflies rang the bell, were welcomed in, and one Barfly guest was asked to remove his baseball cap in order to comply with the posted "no headgear" rule.

There were four or five patrons seated at the bar, all but one of African-American descent. The Barflies, by social circumstance and not by any design, are all lily-white. The Barflies membership, as it is, includes an openly gay man, a Chinese woman, a Jew, a Katrina-displaced New Orleans resident, and a first-generation Quebecois, as well as those of German, English, Irish and Portuguese descent. But, to date, no African-American, Latino or Native-American drinkers have joined the Barflies. (No application necessary...all are welcome- respond to this site in order to receive an itinerary!) All that aside, the Barflies were made to feel quite welcome.
Mr. Merlot immediately struck up a conversation with a female customer, who he had known for years, and she (Carol) also recognized Mr. Mix, having worked on the campaign of Governor Duval Patrick, alongside the politically outspoken Mrs. Mix. Other non-Barfly patrons, and the barmaid, Cynthia, were friendly and conversational.

Mr. Draft veered away from the beer selection, and opted for a CC-and-ginger, the whiskey dispensed from a lazy-susan type device that held the liquor bottles upside down and assured of delivering a perfect one-ounce shot. All the other Barflies, with the exception of Mr. Mix. drank bottled beer, and Mix settled on a White Russian. Mr. Mix also bought a cheeseburger, which he thoroughly enjoyed, and for which the proceeds from were to be put in the fund for the aforementioned neighborhood children's Christmas event.

Located on the corner of Cottage Street and Mill Street, the Lodge is not particularly inviting from the outside, but is comfortable and warm once within. The yellowed walls could use a paint job, and a few more beers could be offered. but it was an enjoyable visit. It gets a 6.

Roll Call: Mr. Draft, Mr. Mix, Mr. Merlot, Mr. 3BOES, Mr. Moonshine

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