THE FIRST 100 YEARS
SACRAMENTO LODGE No.40
(COPY OF CHARTER OF SACRAMENTO LODGE NO. 40)
Chas. M. Radcliff - GRAND MASTER
T. A. Thomas - DEPUTY GRAND MASTER
J. R. Crandall - SENIOR GRAND WARDEN
R. S. Knott - JUNIOR GRAND WARDEN
TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
"THE GRAND LODGE OF FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS FOR
THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA"
and MASONIC JURISDICTION thereunto belonging.
IN AMPLE FORM ASSEMBLED at Sacramento City IN THE
STATE OF CALIFORNIA.
WISDOM STRENGTH FRATERNITY
KNOW YE THAT WE, the said Grand Lodge of the most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons according to the old Constitutions revived by his Royal Highness Prince Edwin at York in the kingdom of England in the year of the Christian Era nine hundred twenty and six and in the year of Masonry four thousand twenty and six by virtue of the powers and authorities vested in us, DO hereby constitute and appoint our trusty and well beloved Brethern James L. ENGLISH Master, John A. TUTT Senior Warden, and John H. GASS Junior Warden of a Lodge to be called Sacramento Lodge of F. & A. M. Number Forty (No. 40) to be held in Sacramento City, Sacramento County, State of California or within five miles of the same, AND we do further authorize and empower our said trusty and well-beloved Brethern (James L. ENGLISH, John A. TUTT, and John H. GASS) to admit and make Free Masons according to the most ANCIENT and HONORABLE CUSTOM of the ROYAL CRAFT, in all ages and nations throughout the known world, and not countrywise. AND we do further empower and appoint the said James L. ENGLISH, John A. TUTT, & John H. GASS and their successors to hear and determine all the singular matters and things relating to the Craft, within the jurisdiction of the said Lodge with the assistance of the Members of the said Lodge. AND LASTLY We do hereby authorize and empower our said trusty and well beloved Brethern James L. ENGLISH, John A. TUTT, & Jno. H. GASS to Install their successors, being first duly elected and chosen to whom they shall deliver this Warrant, and do invest them with all the powers and dignities to their offices respectively belonging and such successors shall in like manner, from time to time, Install their successors, etc., etc. Such Installation to be upon or near St. John the Evangelist's Day, during the continuance of this Lodge forever. PROVIDED ALWAYS, That the said above named Brethern and their successors pay due respect to this Right Worshipful Grand Lodge, and the ordinances thereof, otherwise this Warrant to be of no force or effect.
GIVEN IN OPEN GRAND LODGE, under the hands of our RIGHT Worshipful Grand Officers and the seal of our Grand Lodge at Sacramento City this sixth (6th) day of May A.C. one thousand eight hundred and Fifty-four and of Masonry five thousand eight hundred and Fifty Four (5854).
Addison Martin, GRAND TREASURER L. Stowell, GRAND SECRETARY
After the new Lodge received its charter the first man to be raised was Thomas Milgate. He was initiated and Entered Apprentice Mason on January 24, 1854, passed to the degree of Fellowcraft on April 7 of that year while the Lodge was yet under dispensation and been raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on May 26, 1854. The records show us that the first Mason to be affiliated with Sacramento Lodge No. 40 after it was chartered was Arnold Heyman, who affiliated June 2, 1854.
We have mentioned the Masonic Hall in the old Stanford Building on lower K. Street---meeting place of the Lodge. The Stanford Building, according to the 1854 Sacramento City Directory, was constructed in 1852 by Joshua and Philip Stanford at a cost of $7000. Next door to his building C. P. Huntington constructed another building the same year at a cost of $2000. The men merged building interests to form the 60 foot front of the Huntington-Hopkins & Co. Building on the present-day side of 220-226 K. street.
According to the records this building was the birthplace of the Central Pacific Railroad and is still standing, although somewhat modified. The upper story of the structure served as a meeting place for the lodge until the completion of Bennett's Masonic Hall Building early in 1854.
Bennett's Masonic Hall Building had some other names: "Bennett's Baths," "The Metropolitan Baths," and the "English Block." It occupied the location: 17-19 J Street (later designed as 117 J Street in Sacramento) and was the second meeting place of the Lodge. On Friday evening, February 3, 1854, the first meeting was held in this building. Here is a printed description of the structure from the pages of the Sacramento City Directory of November 1, 1854: "Bennett's Masonic Hall: The architectural beauty of this fine edifice has elicited general approbation. It was constructed in 1854 by Mr. A. A. Bennett, its present owner, who was among the first to venture the experiment of excluding water from his cellar by a compact brick floor laid down in cement. The experiment proved eminently successful."
"An Area of 40 feet by 75 feet is covered by this building which is three stories high. Its first floor is occupied by Col. J. B. Starr and Co.'s. Auction Room, Bennett and Paul's Metropolitan Baths and a barber shop. Its second floor by a series of law and other offices. Its third as a Hall for the Masonic Lodges of Sacramento." The building was occupied by Wood, Curtis & Co. from 1899 to about 1927. It was torn down in 1937.
Commencing April 22, 1864 and continuing until July 1,1864, inclusive, Sacramento Lodge No. 40 held its meetings in the Senate Chamber of the State Capital which was the old Sacramento County Courthouse, corrected on the northwest corner of the 7th and I Streets.
The cornerstone of this building was laid September 27, 1854 by the Most Worshipful Grand Master William H. Howard and as such it was the first cornerstone to be laid by a Grand Lodge of Masons in the State of California. Assisting in this activity were John A. Tutt, Past Grand Master and an original petitioner of Sacramento Lodge No. 40 and Nathaniel Greene Curtis who became Grand Master, serving in 1857-60, Isaac Davis, another original petitioner served as Grand Marshall and Judge James H. Ralston, first Master of Union Lodge No. 58, delivered the oration. The building, costing $240,000, was completed in January 1, 1855 in time for the sixth as session of the State Legislature. The architectural firm who designed it was composed of two members of Sacramento Lodge No. 40: William Franklin Knox (Master in 1857, 1858, 1859 and 1860) and David Farquharson (Secretary from September 8, 1855 to December 26, 1856). John Heard, another original petitioner, was the presiding judge who ordered the construction of the building.
As described in a booklet compiled by the Writers' Program of the Works Projects Administration in Northern California and sponsored by the California State Department of Education, the two-story building had a broad portico across the façade, supported by eight fluted pillars with ionic capitals. The second floor, 80 by 120 feet, was large enough to contain both the Senate and Assembly chambers and nine rooms for clerks and officers of the Legislature. The Controller and Treasurer had offices with fireproof vaults on the ground floor. For this building the State paid $12,000 a year until it moved into the present Capitol, which was occupied for the first time November 26, 1869, although construction was not entirely completed until 1874. The building was torn down in 1910 to make way for the present Sacramento County Courthouse.
The reason why Sacramento Lodge No. 40 met in the Senate Chamber of the State Capital for less than three months does not appear in the records of the Lodge, however, Past Grand Master Leon O. Whitsell in his "100 Years of Freemasonry In California" attributes it to a possible "sectional cleavage occasioned by the Civil War." He further states that the feeling "must have got out of control for only a short while" as after July 1, 1864, the Lodge was moved back to Bennett's Masonic Hall.
The next meeting place of Sacramento Lodge No. 40 was the Masonic Hall at 6th and K. Streets, the cornerstone of which was laid in June 24, 1865. Members of the Grand Lodge and subordinate Lodges assembled at 7:30 AM at the old Masonic Hall on J Street between Front and Second Streets and marched to the news site. The prosession comprised a military band from Camp Union, the Sacramento Sharpshooters, a military escort, Sacramento Commandery No. 2, Knights Templar, as Masonic escort of the day, Concorde Lodge No. 117, Union Lodge No. 58, Sacramento Lodge No. 40, to Tehama Lodge No. 3, Sacramento Royal Arch Chapter No. 3, Sacramento Union Brass Band and the Grand Lodge of California.
A casket was deposited in the cornerstone containing a copy of each newspaper, with one or two exceptions, ever published in Sacramento. Then there was official reports, reports of the Chief Engineer of the Central Pacific Railroad Company, addresses, photographic views, banknotes, coins, rolls of the Masonic Associations of Sacramento, cards of business firms, a map of the city, and the list of national, state, city and county officials.
Acting Grand Chaplain William H. Hill who became Master of our Lodge in 1869 offered a prayer, the band provided some music and Acting Grand Marshall W. F. Knox, Past Master of Sacramento Lodge No. 40, read the proclamation.
As President of the Masonic Hall Association, W. F. Knox, then invited the Grand Lodge to lay the cornerstone and Grand Master, W. C. Belcher of Marysville, responded in acceptance, laying the cornerstone with all the ancient and impressive ceremonies of the fraternity. He was assisted by Past Grand Master Nathaniel Greene Curtis, acting as Deputy Grand Master, Past Grand Master James L. English, acting as Senior Grand Warden, the Junior Grand Warden H. H. Hartley, and others. Ceremonies concluded with the singing of the "Foundation Hymn" and the procession reformed and returned to the old hall.
At ten o'clock that morning the members of the fraternity with their guests boarded a special train of 30 cars and enjoyed a picnic in a pleasant dell 1 1/2 miles below Clipper Gap. By nightfall the group had returned to Sacramento to enjoy a Masonic banquet in the old hall. Those assembled heard addresses by Grand Master Belcher and others.
On the evening of December 1, 1865, the two Lodge rooms in the new Masonic Temple were completed and Sacramento Lodge No. 40 held its first meeting in the new building. Officers for the ensuing year were elected. Members later enjoyed refreshments in the banquet hall which was in between the two Lodge rooms. On December 12, 1865, the new Masonic Hall was opened to public inspection and many visitors took advantage of the invitation.
The property and hall as completed cost the Masonic Temple Association $35,000, a figure that included 20 feet purchased on the west of the lot. The building was constructed of brick, then stuccoed. It had a 60 foot frontage on the south side of K Street and a 90 foot frontage on the south side of K Street and a 90 foot frontage on the west side of 6th St. It extended three stories above the basement. The first floor was occupied by business houses. The second story was arranged for offices and private lodges and the third floor comprised the two Lodge rooms, banquet hall and ante-rooms.
On December 27, 1865, the new Masonic Hall was dedicated in due form by Most Worshipful Past Grand Master N. Greene CURTIS. Officers of the Sacramento Lodges were then jointly installed by him. A banquet followed and oration by Brother CURTIS. Sacramento Lodge No. 40 took a very active part in the activities of the Masonic Hall Association under whose supervision the building was constructed.
As early as May 30, 1903 it was forseen that the Masonic Temple then in use could not continue to accommodate the growing Lodges. Sacramento Lodge No. 40 urged the trustees of the Masonic Hall Association to sell the Masonic Temple and subsequently build a modern Temple suitable for the requirements of all the Masonic bodies in Sacramento.
By November 2, 1906 the trustees had been directed to purchase Lots No. 5 and 6 in the block bounded by 11th and 12th, I and J Streets. A deposit of $1000 had been made to secure the property. A temporary stumbling block arose at this time when it was discovered that the trustees did not have the power to accomplish this in legal form under the then existing articles of incorporation of the Masonic Hall Association. Steps were taken to form a new association but it was not until four years later, March 1, 1907, that Sacramento Lodge No. 40 went on record as favoring the construction of a new Masonic Temple on the proposed site, at the earliest practical date. There was still some opposition to the plan however and some forces wanted an alternate location on L Street between 13th and 14th Streets. Time dragged on. The old Masonic Hall Association had been dissolved by order of the superior Court of Sacramento County and the Masonic Temple Association was incorporated to take its place.
It was not until May 1, 1916 that a resolution was adopted by the stockholders of the Masonic Temple Association to proceed with the financing and construction of the new Temple on the Northwest Corner of 12th and J Streets. This measure carried by a 1180-to-11 vote. One wonders at the long delay in plans.
On Friday evening, September 6, 1918, a meeting of all the Masonic bodies in Sacramento took place at the new Masonic Temple. Brother Joseph Hardin Stephens, Past Master of Sacramento Lodge No. 40 and President of the Board of Trustees of the Masonic Temple Association acted as chairman. Object of the meeting was to open the old box that had been placed in the cornerstone of the old Temple on June 24, 1865. It was also decided that there should be a dedication for the old service flag with its 100 stars representing the members of the five Sacramento Blue Lodges who were in the service of the United States armed forces.
Brother Frank Tade, another Past Master of Sacramento Lodge No. 40 read the list of the contents of the old box and also the list of articles to be placed in the new casket. Brother Clive William Porter of Sacramento Lodge No. 40 acted as artificer in metals and sealed the casket.
Among those present were that group who had also been present at the laying of the cornerstone of the old Masonic Temple in 1865: Brothers William Monroe PETRIE, Past Master of Sacramento Lodge No. 40; Samuel Hason JACKMAN of Tehama Lodge No. 3; John OCHSNER of Washington Lodge No. 20, and Myron H. RENWICK, Past Master of Washington Lodge No. 20.
Brother J. S. CHAMBERS of Union Lodge No. 58 was speaker of the evening. Brother Frank TADE served as historian and his remarks concerned the early history of Masonry in California and particularly in Sacramento at the time of the cornerstone laying in 1865.
The next day, Saturday, September 7, 1918, the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of California convened in special session to lay the cornerstone of the new Masonic Temple in course of construction on the northwest corner of 12th and J Streets.
The Cornerstone was laid in accordance with the custom of the Grand Lodge by the Most Worshipful William Rhodes HERVEY, Grand Master. Past Grand Master Albert Glenn BURNETT, acting Grand Orator, delivered an eloquent Masonic and patriotic oration. Brother Joseph Hardin STEPHENS, President of the Board of Trustees of the Masonic Temple Association and Past Master of Sacramento Lodge No. 40, acted as Master of Ceremonies.
On April 2, 1920, Sacramento Lodge No. 40 convened for the first time in the new Masonic Temple at the northwest corner of 12th and J Streets and 136 members responded to roll call. The following resolution was unanimously adopted: "Whereas the Masonic Temple, located on the northwest corner of 12th and J Streets in the City of Sacramento, County of Sacramento, State of California, is now completed and ready for occupancy by the Lodges of Free and Accepted Masons resident in said City of Sacramento, now, therefore, be it resolved that Sacramento Lodge No. 40, Free and Accepted Masons of the State of California, does hereby select, appoint and designate said Masonic Temple, situated as aforesaid, as the place where the meetings of said Sacramento Lodge No. 40 shall be held hereafter in the place and stead of the old Masonic Temple at the southwest corner of Sixth and K Streets."
On April 16, 1920, Fred Chaffee WARREN and Matthew RIDLEY were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, the first members of our Lodge to receive this degree in the new Temple. Brother WARREN died November 1, 1941, but Brother RIDLEY is still a member of our Lodge.
On the afternoon of May 15, 1920, the Masonic Temple was dedicated by the Most Worshipful Charles Albert ADAMS, Grand Master of Masons of California, assisted by the other officers of the Grand Lodge.
© 2007 Sally Kaleta.