"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Monday, May 08, 2023

Colorado Lodge Dedicates Idiosyncratic New Meeting Space

Photo: Bruce Hinde

by Christopher Hodapp

CORRECTION: I mistakenly thought the new building being used by Elk Mountain Lodge was a re-purposed grain storage silo. Brother David Moran tells me this is a brand new structure, and was never used as a silo. My apologies for jumping to conclusions.

On April 22nd, the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Colorado consecrated the new lodge hall of Elk Mountain Lodge 118 in one of the most unusual locations in the world — inside of a round, steel building that resembles a grain storage silo (photo above). 

Photo: WB David Moran

Photo: Elk Mountain Lodge Facebook page

Up until two years ago, their old lodge hall on the second floor at 111 Eighth Street in Steamboat Springs had served them well for almost a century, but the cost of upkeep and improvements continued to rise over the decades while their supporting membership shrank in size.  So Brother Ray Selbe, a member of Elk Mountain Lodge since the 1980's, came up with an innovative solution: a 900-square-foot loft area inside of a round, steel building on his ranch that houses his blacksmith shop and antique tool collection.

Selbe, a practicing blacksmith, was building a shop where he could properly display a collection of blacksmithing tools he has been accumulating for several years. When the topic of the lodge needing a new location came up, he offered to build a mezzanine where the members could meet.

“We were building a new blacksmith shop, and suddenly we needed a place for the lodge,” Selbe said. “So we built a mezzanine level in the new blacksmith shop for the lodge.”

The new Elk Mountain Masonic Lodge is located above Selbe’s shop on his ranch located at 25245 County Road 42. The 900-square-foot lodge is built on the mezzanine level of the 1,800-square-foot blacksmith shop.


The completion of the lodge put a smile on Selbe’s face not only because it gave the Masons a new place to meet, but because it ensures the organization still has a home in Steamboat Springs.

“My grandfather and my dad and uncles were all Masons — it was a family tradition, I guess,” Selbe said. “There were a lot of memories in that downtown location, but now we’ll make new memories.”

Photo: Elk Mountain Lodge Facebook page

Photo: Elk Mountain Lodge Facebook page

Like so many lodges, Elk Mountain began life downtown in their hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They were granted dispensation in 1902 and received their charter in 1904. 

Elk Mountain 118's former downtown lodge hall in Steamboat Springs
(Photo: Google Maps)

But Elk Mountain's new, modern lodge room is truly unique for the 21st century. For many years, these distinctive agricultural vessels have been converted into innovative homes and vacation cabins, but this is the first one I've ever encountered being turned into a Masonic temple. 

*   *   *

Read the histories of Masonic grand lodges throughout America over the centuries and you'll encounter countless stories of lodges meeting in unusual places like caves, above general stores, in barns, attic loft areas of log cabins — anywhere that could be successfully tyled, away from prying eyes and snoopy eavesdroppers. In Indiana we had two lodges that began life meeting on the top floors of operating grist mills in the 1800s: Millersville Lodge 126 and Wild Cat Lodge 311. (Adams Mill in tiny Cutler, Indiana is a museum today and area Masons have set up a historical re-creation of the original meeting space of Wild Cat Lodge No. 311 for the public to see and for our lodges to use.)

1864-era Masonic lodge room re-creation on top floor
of Adam's Mill, Cutler, Indiana.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will not appear immediately, so be patient. I am forced to laboriously screen every post because I am constantly bombarded with spam. Anonymous postings on Masonic topics have the same status as cowans and eavesdroppers as far as I am concerned. If you post with an unknown or anonymous account, do not expect to see your comment appear.