One of the smallest Freemason lodges in the U.S. is in the California "ghost town" of Hornitos, in Mariposa County located midway between San Francisco and the eastern state line, and just west of Yosemite National Park. Hornitos Lodge No. 98 was built in 1855, and the lodge was chartered a year later. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is still active.
From the NoeHill Travels in California website:
The plaque on the front of the building reads:
Point of Historical Interest
Hornitos Masonic Hall
Registration MRP - 001
Hornitos Masonic Hall No. 98
NRHP Number 05000775
Listed August 3, 2005
This building was constructed c. 1855 of native schist rock. It was purchased in August 1873 by the Freemasons of Hornitos Lodge No. 98, and since early 1875, continue to meet here. The Lodge was originally chartered as Quartzburg Lodge No. 98 on May 8, 1856, and met in Quartzburg. This building is the smallest Masonic Hall in California. Its lodgeroom is only 17'-6" by 29'-6" and has seen visitors from around the world.
Plaque set by the Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of California May 13, 1995
A second plaque reads:
National Register of Historic Places
This restored Masonic Hall is recognized for the significant community involvement of its members from 1873 to 1930. The Freemasons owned stores and hotels, served as town and county officials, worked as miners and engineers and supported Hornitos from their farms and ranches. Their Masonic philosophy of personal improvement and community betterment created a positive influence in Hornitos.
This plaque set by the Grand Master of Masons in California and the Worshipful Master of Hornitos Lodge on May 20, 2006
In 2011, Brethren from Modesto Lodge No. 206 visited the lodge, and their website contains some photos of the tiny interior. From the Modesto Lodge website:
“The Hornitos Masonic Lodge is located in the historic town of Hornitos, which was once a gun-toting Wild West gold mining camp with a population topping 10,000. This town, with its population sign now reading 75, is an outstanding vision of history, where the Wells Fargo Stage opened their office and ran some shipments worth $40,000 in gold, and where Domenico Ghirardelli built his first store before moving to San Francisco and to ‘Chocolate Fame.’ ” – excerpted from the Hornitos Lodge 98 brochure.
Also of interest is that for many years, the smallest lodge in size in Ireland, and perhaps the world, was Premiere Lodge of Connought No. 14 in County Galway, Ireland. It has recently moved to a slightly larger facility, but here is a photo of its tiny former location from their website:
If you know of a similarly small lodge room in the world, please pass it along to me and I'll be happy to add it to the list.