Masonic Lodge

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Local Landmark—2011

Masonic Temple 1922 facade small
Weston Masonic Temple, c.1922

The Weston Lodge Number 22 of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons (A.F. & A.M.) was organized in Littleton in 1872 by an authorization written by Grand Master Senator Henry M. Teller of Central City, Colorado. It was named for Allyn Weston, a Harvard graduate who had published a Masonic magazine in Detroit before moving to Colorado in 1860 to practice law in Central City. Weston was a founder of Lodge Number 6 there and subsequently became Grand Master of Masons in Colorado in 1862. The name of the Littleton Lodge was chosen to recognize his contributions to Masonry in Colorado.

Grand Master Teller named the first officials for the Littleton lodge: Joseph W. Bowles, worshipful master; Henry E. Allen, senior warden; and Stephen M. Myler, junior warden. For $200 a year, the lodge rented the second floor of J. D. Hill's general store at what is now 5738 South Rapp Street. They sublet the space on certain nights to the Patrons of Husbandry, the official name for The Grange.

The Masons soon took under their wing the Littleton Cemetery that had been created in the 1860s from part of the Lewis B. Ames farm. Brother Charles Comstock platted the grounds. It was in the hands of the Lodge until January 1888 when it was transferred to the Littleton Cemetery Association. In later years the Lodge formed several committees to find out the reason for the transfer, but no reports are mentioned in the minutes.

Masonic Temple 1922 faded
Masonic Temple, c.1922.

After a fire at the Rough and Ready Mill in 1890, members of the lodge decided that a volunteer fire department must soon be formed. They acquired a ladder cart, two ladders, four hooks, thirty buckets and a list of twenty men, mostly lodge members. After much discussion, it was decided most of the men were too old to run foot races down Main Street, and younger men must be found to do the physical labor for the department. John G. Lilly, although too young to be a fireman, organized a team of young men that became the John G. Lilly Hook and Ladder Company. By 1901 it was a full-time volunteer fire department, no longer dependent upon the lodge.

As the lodge membership grew to 112 members by 1913, the need for new quarters became pressing. In July 1914, the members decided to set aside twenty-five percent of their income for a building fund. Plans for a new Temple began in earnest in 1920. Appointed trustees were O. C. Hoffman, R. W. Candler, John R. Hoskin, Ivy W. Hunt, John Nickels, Virgil Stevens and Louis Stekel, plus Secretary Frank M. Burnett and Treasurer John Pollock. At this meeting Ivy Hunt donated the building site at what is now 5718 South Rapp Street. Labor, painting, decorating and electrical materials at cost were offered, and $2,400 in cash was received. The site of the new temple was within 100 feet of the exact spot where the first lodge was instituted.

Ground was broken on March 24, 1921. Harry G. Thomas of Englewood designed the building, a two-story, forty by seventy-eight foot, red fired brick structure. The first floor was devoted to entrance halls, club, kitchen and a banquet room. The second floor contained anterooms and the meeting hall.

 Masonic Temple 2015
Masonic Temple, 2015.  Photo by Amelia Martinez.

The Grand Lodge of Colorado laid the cornerstone on April 23, 1921 in a ceremony attended by the largest delegation of Masons yet seen in Littleton. Articles placed in the cornerstone were lists of members and officers of the Weston Lodge and the Eastern Star, town officials, officers and members of the hose company, a copy of the by-laws and the Littleton Independent, a list of members of the Grand Lodge and a coin.

The Classical Revival brick building boasts a number of interesting and intricate architectural features. Perhaps most noticeable is the checkerboard, variegated brick work with the Masonic symbol (compass, square and G) inset above the classical portico entrance, made by member John R. Hoskin -- a local blacksmith. Visually the building is divided into three sections (bays) by brick pilasters that add to the classical style of the structure. The white molded cornice tops and corner pilaster bases as well as the white entry are striking details against the deep red, fired bricks. Above each window on the façade is a different Masonic symbol.

The first lodge meeting in the new building was on August 20, 1921. A bond burning party was held on November 6 that year, (where only Masons and Stars were invited.) The Temple was dedicated on November 19, 1921. Orville C. Hoffman was Master.

The Weston Lodge has met in this building ever since then. For its 100th anniversary in 1973, it published a history of the lodge, Weston Lodge Number 22, A. F. & A. M., 1872-1973.  On October 27, 2012, members of the Weston Lodge celebrated the designation of their building as a historic landmark and its 140th anniversary with a ceremonial cornerstone re-dedication.

Bibliography

Freemasons of Littleton, Colorado. Weston Lodge Number 22, A. F. & A. M., 1872-1973. Littleton: A. F. & A. M., 1973.

Littleton (Colo.) Independent. The Littleton Independent Publishers, 1888-.

Littleton Museum. Card File: A. F. & A. M. Weston Lodge.

____. Photographic Archives.

Simmons, R. Laurie and Thomas H. Simmons. Historic Buildings Survey, Littleton, Colorado, Littleton Townsite of 1890. Three volumes. Denver: Front Range Research Associates, Inc., 1997, 1998

Front Range Research Associates, 1997 Inventory, Littleton Historic Buildings, Inventory Record for the Weston Masonic Temple, Colorado Cultural Resource Survey Inventory Form 5AH1375.

Inventory Sources:
Waring, Houstoun, Hous's Littleton (Littleton: Littleton Independent, 1981)
Littleton Historical Museum Files
Littleton Historical Museum Photographic Collection, #908
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1922-1949
"Weston Lodge No. 22 AF&AM, Littleton, Colorado, 1872-1973", on file at Littleton Historical Museum
Littleton Historical Museum, People and Places Index

Photographs courtesy of the Littleton Museum unless otherwise noted. To order copies, contact the museum at 303-795-3950.

 

Compiled by Doris Farmer Hulse
Edited by Kris Christensen, Colorado Digitization Project

Last revised May 2017