Thursday, September 16, 2010

Western Star No. 2, Oldest Lodge in California


Western Star Lodge No. 2 has the oldest continuously operating Masonic lodge building in California.

From the Taking Care of History blog by Dottie Smith:

It is the oldest Masonic Lodge in California. It became the oldest in 1851 when the Grand Lodge of California, Free and Accepted Masons of Benton City, the original oldest lodge, consented to move their meeting location from Benton City to Shasta.

In 1854, the trustees of the Shasta Masonic Lodge purchased the upper floor of Norton and Tucker's brick building on the north side of Main Street in Shasta for $2,400 as their lodge meeting place; the building in the photo. On Dec. 27, 1854 (St. John's Day), members moved in Grand Procession, with the jewels and rods displayed, into their new lodge for a dedication ceremony.

The building was built in 1854 by Julius Norton and Silas Tucker to house their mercantile business. It was a two-story fireproof building (tin roof, brick walls) with a basement. In 1859, Norton and Tucker went bankrupt and the Masons acquired the remainder of the building.

The Millville Masonic Lodge, Northern Light Lodge No. 190, consolidated with the Shasta Lodge on March 1, 1999.


The historic plaque on the building reads:

"The oldest masonic lodge in the state of California. Chartered by the most worshipful Grand Lodge of Missouri on the 10th of May 1848. This building was dedicated on St John's Day, the 27th of December 1854, and has been in continuous use by the lodge ever since.

After the great fire of 1853, most of the city of Shasta was destroyed. The lodge lost all of its possessions, save its Missouri charter, and continued to meet on the upper floor of Dr. Benjamin Shurtleff's home which stood on a hill, west of town from 1851-1967 when it was lost to fire. On 4th of December, 1854, the lodge trustees purchased the upper floor of this building, the street level being the Norton and Tucker general merchandise. In 1857 the Lodge acquired ownership of the entire building."

1 comment:

Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.) said...

Mariposa Lodge No. 24 began with a Dispensation issued by the Grand Master Hyman of the Grand Lodge of California on November 18, 1851, the same year the Yosemite Valley was discovered. A Holy Bible, a sterling silver square and a compass of similar material were presented to the Lodge on December 27, 1854 by 13 wives and daughters of the Masons. These items have been on the Altar at every meeting held since that date. Indeed, because of the great San Francisco fire, the Holy Bible, Square and Compass at Mariposa Lodge are among the oldest California Masonic Relics and indeed, likely the oldest in continous use.