1OOth Anniversary Grand Lodge, A. F. & A. M. of Colorado
LEON H. SNYDER, GRAND MASTER
NEVADA LODGE NO.4 OFFICERS, 1961
F. RAY LEWIS, Worshipful Master
JULE R. CROUCH, Senior Warden
ANTON GAYHART, Junior Warden
CARL L. CHANCE, Treasurer
HENRY RESS, Secretary
PAUL G. ENGLEHART, Senior Deacon
LARRY C. CHANCE, Junior Deacon
ROBERT L. VOCATE, Senior Steward
CLYDE T. WALKER, Junior Steward
IRA P. DOTSON, Chaplain
ROY F. WEINGARTEN, Marshal
ORLAND K. JOHNSON, Tiler
History of Most Worshipful Grand Lodge A. F. &. A. M. of Colorado,
"Ho, that tent over there."
On Nov. 3rd, 1858, just one day after arriving in the new gold rush town of Auraria, Kansas Territory, at the junction of Cherry Creek with the Platte, J. D. Ramage narrates that he was hailed by a man using this salutation "and at the same time making use of a Masonic expression."
Henry Allen, W.M. Auraria U.D.
"Our caller proved to be Bro. Henry Allen (afterwards Master of Auraria U. D.). He told us there were five Masons meeting in his cabin Auraria that evening, and having heard that I as a Mason, they invited me to attend. . . These brethren, together with Bro. Allen and myself, made the first seven Masons, according to my knowledge and belief, who ever met in Colorado, having in contemplation the application for a charter, and a seven who stuck together, as Masons should, through thick and thin."
Only 10 days before the Russell prospecting party had arrived. Three days later the Allen gold-seeking group from Iowa f ollowed. W. M. Slaughter, one of the original seven, was proud to reminisce that within 10 days those Masonic pioneers had set about laying the foundation for that grand Masonic institution which now overlooks both mountains and plains.
J. D. Ramage tells us further: "We agreed to meet every Saturday night and as our object in locating in Colorado was to get gold (we were supposed to be out prospecting during the week) we decided any ideas concerning the country we were in which might come to us, news of any mines we might discover, or any information which might be beneficial to the brethren, Masonic ally or financially, would at the next meeting, be given to the Masons there assembled." Masons of incoming parties were sought out and added to the informal Saturday night gatherings in Auraria.
Twenty-six Masons were present for the sumptuous dinner and St. John's celebration Dec. 27th, 1858. "The room - a sixteen by sixteen foot cabin; tablecloth-a clean sheet borrowed from a Mormon family recently arrived; chairs-none; menu, pork, beans, biscuits, coffee, wild game. But it was a St. John's Day feast, regularly celebrated for the first time in this prairie wilderness.
William N. Byers, editor of the Territory's first newspaper, attended a meeting of 40 brethren the night of his arrival, in mid April, 1859, in a double log cabin on the west bank of Cherry Creek about four blocks below the old City Hall. The floor was of earth, the roof of poles and earth. The anteroom was one cabin, the meeting room, the other.
Early issues of his paper carried this card or trestle board:
Rocky Mountain News Apr. 23, 1859
And this six months after the arrival of the first settlers in an entirely new country.
The weekly meetings at Auraria were interrupted in the spring of 1859 by news of the big gold strike at Gregory Diggings, forty miles northwest in the high mountains. Within a month, 40,000 men reportedly had been attracted there. This number included many other members of the craft besides those from Auraria.
It was natural that these men, having in common high concepts of human responsibilities and behavior, should assemble together as a force for good in this lawless and rugged frontier. Masonic interest was intense. Before June had passed, these Masons had preempted a block of ground and a "Masonic Temple" was erected. A group of nearly 100 Masons leveled the ground while ox teams d ragged logs for the structure. Bro. W. M. Slaughter, a participant, wrote:"
Word had been passed about among the Masons of the several camps that a Masonic meeting would be held that night at dusk and as the hour arrived the trails and paths leading toward the 'Temple' began to be lined with Masons gathering together to meet each other from distant states. and countries for the first time in this wild place amid the pine woods on a lone mountainside.
Guards at the Temple
"Four men (Masons) armed with rifles and revolvers stood on guard, one on each corner of the 'Temple' and one at the outer door also. At the outer door there was also a receiving committee.
"If he desired examination as to his standing as a Mason he was at once placed in charge of an examining committee of whom there were not less than ten. . . There were over 200 visiting brethren whose names were entered upon the 'Journal' or 'Roll of Visitors' as it was called at that first meeting. A meeting was held once a week for over three months."
True, it was only a small log cabin and the tiler had to stand outside the door, but to this earnest group it was a "Masonic Temple." The Grand Lodge of Colorado in the 1930's acquired title to the ground occupied by this first Temple. Annual Grand Lodge pilgrimages are made to the site.
Six months later, with unknown winter mountain hazards confronting them, many prospectors left the high country. Weekly meetings at Auraria were resumed. Desire for constituted Masonic authority now permeated their conversations. The Auraria group petitioned the Grand Master of Kansas for a dispensation. It was granted Aug. 15th, 1859. Henry Allen was first Master.
Ferry Street, Auraria's First Home
On Oct. 1st, 1859, more than 40 Masons assembled for the first regular communication of Masons in the country later to be known as the Territory, and still later, as the State of Colorado. It was held on the upper floor of a new two story building on Ferry street built by Abraham Jacobs, a lodge member.
The success of Auraria Lodge encouraged. the Auraria's First Home Masons at Golden City, 12 miles northwest, like wise to petition for a dispensation. This was also issued by M. Word. Bro. Rees of Kansas on Jan. 21st, 1860.
At the annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Kansas in Oct., 1860, the representative of Golden Lodge U. D. was present with the necessary records prerequisite to chartering, but the delegate from Auraria U. D. did not arrive in time. A charter was issued to Golden Lodge as No. 34 under the Grand Lodge of Kansas. The dispensation of Auraria Lodge U. D. was continued for another year with Richard Sopris as Master.
On Dec. 22nd, 1860, Masons who remained at Nevadaville for the winter were granted a dispensation by the Grand Master of Kansas to form Nevada Lodge U. D. with Andrew Mason as first Master. It was chartered Oct. 15th, 1861, as Nevada Lodge No. 36 (under Kansas).
During 1860 John Milton Chivington, grand chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska and destined to become Colorado's first Grand Master, arrived in Colorado. He organized two lodges under the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. Dispensations were issued to Summit Lodge at Parkville on May 6th, 1861, and to Rocky Mountain Lodge at Gold Hill on May 21st, 1861. Charters were issued following Grand Lodge Approval on June 5th, 1861, to Summit Lodge as No.7 and Rocky Mountain as No.8, both under Nebraska.
J. M. Chivington, First Grand Master
Parkville and Gold Hill were mining towns established on small deposits. When these became exhausted the inhabitants left, the settlements became "ghost towns" and eventually only Masonic memories.
In Feb., 1861, the "Territory of Colorado" was recognized by the national government. With local authority established, feeling for a local Grand Lodge developed. On Aug. 2nd, 1861, organization of the Grand Lodge of Colorado was perfected in a meeting at Golden City.
Summit No.2 Monument
Gold Hill No.3 Monument
There were three chartered Lodges, Golden City No. 34 authorized by Kansas, Summit Lodge No.7 at Parkville and Rocky Mountain at Gold Hill, both affiliated with Nebraska. There were two Lodges working under dispensation from Kansas: Auraria and Nevadaville.
These officers were elected and installed:
J. M. Chivington of Gold Hill, Grand Master
S. M. Robins of Parkville, Deputy Grand Master
James Ewing of Parkville, Senior Grand Warden
J. M. Holt of Gold Hill, Junior Grand Warden
Eli Carter of Golden City, Grand Treasurer
C. A. Whittemore of Parkville, Grand Secretary
Nevada Lodge surrendered its Kansas charter (issued Oct. 15th, 1861, by the Grand Lodge of Kansas) and received Colorado Charter No.4. Auraria and Central City surrendered their dispensations from Kansas and Nebraska respectively to receive dispensations from Grand Master Chivington. On Dec. 11th, 1861, they were chartered by the Grand Lodge of Colorado as Denver Lodge No.5 and Chivington Lodge No.6. This latter lodge later changed its name to Central No.6.
Colorado's first annual communication was held Dec. 18th, 1861, at Denver, the second at Central City Nov. 3rd, 1862. The sessions were then alternated between these two towns until 1873, since when they have been held in Denver.
In the interests of peace and harmony, long-time Masonic objectives, Union Lodge No.7 was chartered directly in 1863 without the formality of serving under dispensation. The circumstances were these: The Civil War, arraying brother against brother, did not spare the membership of Denver Lodge No.5. This metropolitan Lodge of the new territory contained strong adherents of both the North and the South. It was difficult for brethren of their widely diverse opinions to dwell together in unity!
A large majority of No. 5's membership believed in the cause of the Southern Confederacy. Opposed was the Administration party represented by Colorado's Governor, his secretary, and an Army group.
At a conference at the grand communication it was decided to organize a new Lodge in Denver, thus permitting the two opposing sides to separate and each function through a Lodge of congenial members. Thus the Union sympathizers formed Union Lodge No.7 and an important crisis of early Colorado Masonry was avoided.
Empire Lodge No.8 at Empire lasted only 10 years as the town was deserted when the fortune hunters moved to more exciting mining prospects elsewhere.
Even as Colorado Masonry was received from other jurisdictions, so was Colorado ready and willing to pass on to others her priceless heritage.
Grand Jurisdiction 1873
First opportunity came in 1865 when the Masons of Virginia City and Helena City, Montana, asked for dispensations to form Lodges. Not only were dispensations granted but charters followed in due course of time. Colorado No.9 became No.2, Montana, and Colorado No. 10 became Montana No.3. (The noted Vigilantes were a by-product of the Virginia City group.)
Three Lodges were chartered in Wyoming: Cheyenne No. 16, now Wyoming No. I; Laramie No. 18, now Wyoming No.3; and Evanston No. 24, now Wyoming No.4. A Lodge at South Pass City, Wyoming, chartered by Nebraska, combined with these three to form the Wyoming Grand Lodge in 1874.
Charter No. 21 of Colorado was issued to a group of Masons in Salt Lake City who helped organize the Grand Lodge of Utah. This Lodge became No.3 in the Utah jurisdiction.
In the first 10 years the Grand Lodge grew to 21 constituent lodges. Washington No. 12 in 1867 became the second Lodge to be chartered without dispensation to meet the needs of the mining community of Georgetown. In 1868, just a year after chartering, shifting mining population caused No. 14 to leave the mountain village of Columbia for the foothills town of Boulder.
Outside of Denver and the mountain areas, the development was in the agricultural sections just east of the Rockies. Included were EI Paso No. 13 at Colorado Springs, Mount Moriah No. 15 at Canon City, Pueblo No. 17, Collins No. 19 at Fort Collins, and Occidental No. 20 at Greeley.
Geographically, Masonry spread rapidly in the second decade. In the south, Huerfano No. 27 at Walsenburg (1875) and Las Animas No. 28 in Trinidad (1875) received charters. In the San Luis Valley Del Norte No. 29 (1875), Olive Branch No. 32 at Saguache (1877) and Rosita No. 36 (1879) were the first Lodges. King Solomon No. 30 at Las Animas was the pioneer in the lower Arkansas river valley.
Lodge Rock, Site of First Meeting
Mining developments on the western slope brought San Juan No. 33 to Silverton (1877), Crystal Lake No. 34 to Lake City (1878), and many others in this decade. The grand communication of 1881 approved eight Lodges, a number not since equaled in one year.
Both the number of Lodges and membership grew steadily until the forces of the Great Depression interrupted. From 1928, when there were 147 constituent Lodges, not a single Lodge was chartered until after World War II in 1946. In the 15 years since, 20 regular Lodges have been approved plus the Research Lodge of Colorado (1953), a study and educational Lodge without number, and the Memorial Lodge of Colorado (1961) authorized solely to confer Masonic funerals.
From an original membership of 62 in 1861, the growth has been as follows:
THE GEORGE WASHINGTON NATIONAL MEMORIAL
The idea of a nation-wide Masonic observance of the centennial of George Washington's death came from a Colorado Mason, M. W. Bro. Roger W. Woodbury. At our thirty-third annual communication in 1893, our Grand Lodge endorsed his idea. Other Grand Lodges were invited to participate in the remarkable memorial service at Mount Vernon Dec. 14th, 1899.
Colorado Grand Master Alphonse A. Burnand was a principal speaker. Special recognition for originating the idea was given the Coloradans attending.
Out of this assemblage of prominent Masons came the idea for the George Washington National Masonic Memorial on Shooters Hill in Alexandria, Va., to serve as a fireproof repository for the Washington Masonic relics and as a memorial to Washington, the Mason.
Our Grand Lodge has since been honored by having a director on the governing board of the memorial. Harry W. Bundy, Grand Secretary, is presently serving in this capacity.
Since 1923 our Grand Jurisdiction has maintained a special committee to publicize the Memorial and obtain funds for it. Lodges contribute $1 for each brother raised and there are also voluntary contributions.
As a feature of this centennial, M. W. Bro. Leon H. Snyder this year in behalf of all Colorado Masons made final payment on a gift of two mammoth bronze doors in the rotunda of the Memorial. This contribution totaling $18,000 was the suggestion of M. W. Bro. Aubrey D. Spann.
TRUSTEES OF THE BENEVOLENT FUND
The Colorado Masons Benevolent Fund was incorporated in 1912 to administer the charities of the Grand Lodge. Started with a donation of $60 in 1900 by E. LeNeve Foster, the amount of his expenses as Grand Lecturer that year, the five divisions controlled by the trustees now have a book value approaching two and one half million dollars. These include the Colorado Masons Benevolent Fund, the Colorado Soldier Masons War Relief, the Robert Russell Foundation Fund, the Charles H. Jacobson (Past Grand Secretary) Memorial Educational Fund, and the Charles L. Young (Past Grand Lecturer) Memorial Scholarship Fund.
ARMED FORCES WELFARE COMMITTEE
Members of the Armed Forces in Veterans Hospitals have been visited and helped by members of our Armed Forces Welfare committee since World War 1. The ministrations of this committee are statewide with active members in the Denver, Fort Lyon, Grand Junction, and Colorado Springs areas.
MASONIC EDUCATION COMMITTEE
To spread Masonic light beyond the ritual, our committee on Masonic Education since 1936 has furnished 179 papers to be read in Lodge, has provided scores of speakers on craft subjects, has publicized and promoted the Grand Lodge Library, has assisted in forming the Research Lodge of Colorado, and has been an active participant in the Rocky Mountain Masonic Conference.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS COMMITTEE
Believing in the public schools as the fundamental bulwark of our democracy, practically all constituent Lodges cooperate every year with the Grand Lodge committee sponsoring Public Schools Week. Visits to schools, celebrations, special programs, essay and speech contests, awards, honors to teachers and administrators, and reams of publicity have focused attention on this important project.
At its first meeting on August 2nd, 1861, the new Grand Lodge of Colorado:
"Resolved, That a school of instruction be established by this Grand Lodge and that at least one day, at each Grand Communication, be set aside for the purpose of instruction by the M. W. Grand Master, in order that uniformity in the work may be obtained in this Jurisdiction.
"Resolved, That the work of this Jurisdiction be adopted as exemplified in the present Grand Lodge."
Just what this work was is not known. Golden City Lodge was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Kansas and set up by a well-qualified Kansas Mason. Our Grand Lodge was formed in the hall of Golden Lodge. I. E. Hardy of Golden City was the first Grand Lecturer. The first Grand Master was Past Master of a Kansas Lodge. So it might be inferred that this first work was "Kansas Work."
But there was opportunity for Nebraska influence, too. Two of the three lodges were chartered by Nebraska. A Past Deputy Grand Master of Nebraska was present at our organization. Our first Grand Master had been an officer of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, as well as a Kansas Past Master. The first constitution was that of Nebraska, modified only to suit the conditions of the new Grand Jurisdiction.
But it was difficult to achieve uniformity. Each Master probably thought the work of his home jurisdiction the best. Distances between Lodges, the presence of hostile Indians on the way' and the extreme vicissitudes of travel made it almost impossible for Grand Master or Grand Lecturer to visit lodges and demonstrate the official work.
In 1878, Grand Master C. J. Hart reported:
"We have adopted a uniform work and enacted laws prohibiting the introduction of any other among our Lodges and yet, notwithstanding this, the work in this Jurisdiction is almost as varied as the colors of Joseph's coat."
In succeeding years, several attempts were made to correct this situation, including use of District Deputy Grand Lecturers. This latter failed because men could not give time to Masonic work to the neglect of their business when travel took so long and was so hazardous.
A committee of five Past Grand Masters observed in 1882: "That the work as presented by the Grand Lecturer is in its essential features the same as the ALLYN WESTON work so long used in this Jurisdiction."
Allyn Weston had been made a Mason in Michigan where for years he published a Masonic magazine, "The Ashlar." He came to Colorado in 1861 and at the first Annual Communication in December of that year was appointed Grand Lecturer, when he, no doubt, introduced his Michigan work into the new grand body. A year later he was elected Grand Master.
The Allyn Weston work, with few changes, continued until 1911, when the Custodians of the Work revised it somewhat.
In 1915 Grand Lecturer W. W. Cooper, later Grand Secretary, traced the derivation of the esoteric Colorado work:
"... Our line of descent is fairly clear. Beginning with Webb, we next have Gleason and Fowle, then Barney, and through Michigan, Colorado. It must be remembered, however, that the Barney work, as taught by him to Willson in Vermont in 1818, is not the same Barney work that we have inherited. The stream has been clouded, possibly it has been purified by additions and mingling's.
"The Brother Willson above referred to, subsequent to 1818, went to Iowa and Kansas, and the system of lectures which he learned from Barney in 1818 was adopted by those two jurisdictions.
"I think there is no doubt that Vermont, Iowa and Kansas have a better title to the original work of 1818 (whatever it was) than have Michigan, Illinois, and Colorado. Whether the original Barney-Gleason-Webb work of 1818 is better than the modified Barney-Gleason-Webb work of Colorado is another question."
The 1911 revision is still in effect. The services of the Grand Lecturer were augmented in 1949 by the return of a system of District Deputy Lecturers, made feasible by modern transportation. It is conceded we now enjoy the greatest ritualistic uniformity of our century of existence.
THE COLORADO MONITOR
There was no official Monitor for this Jurisdiction until 1906. In 1900 the Jurisprudence committee reported:
"In our opinion the Mackey Manual now in use meets the demands of our officers and lodges. In view of the fact it is so generally satisfactory and so generally used we recommend that no change be made."
In 1906, however, the McCoy manual was adopted as the official Monitor and its use recommended throughout the Jurisdiction. This proved unsatisfactory so that Custodians of the Work prepared a Monitor that harmonized completely with the new revision of the esoteric work. This monitor, "The Colorado Craftsmen", was adopted in 1911 and is still in use.
PROMINENT CRAFTSMEN OF THE PAST
John Milton Chivington, first Grand Master, was one of the territory's most colorful pioneers. An Ohio churchman, he was made a Mason in his home state and asserted leadership in Masonry where ever he lived.
In 1884 he was ordered to Kansas City, Kansas, as a missionary to the Wyandotte Indians. There he served as Master of a Lodge.
He moved "up river" to Omaha where he became Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. In 1860 he was sent to the Rocky Mountain region as the Presiding Elder to establish the Methodist church in the new gold district.
Through his leadership two regular lodges were organized under the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, Summit Lodge at Parkville and Rocky Mountain Lodge at Gold Hill.
Colonel Chivington is remembered as the minister of the church who responded to his country's need to teach the Indian that the trails must be open for the white man to come and go in peace.
Allyn Weston, first Grand Lecturer and Second Grand Master, is responsible for the Colorado ritual. A Michigan Mason originally, for many years he published the Masonic Magazine "The Ashlar."
Henry M. Teller, third Grand Master, probably was the ablest man early Colorado produced. His foresight and ability in seven years as Grand Master guided the craft through a trying period. He served as Governor, United States Senator, and prominent cabinet member.
Lawrence N. Greenleaf, Grand Master in 1880, was nationally known as the Poet Laureate of Freemasonry, as Masonic editor, and writer and interpreter of correspondence reviews. His very human poem "The Lodge Room Over Simpkins Store" is a favorite of Masonic orators.
Henry Allen, organizer and first Master of Auraria Lodge U. D., is considered the father of Masonry in Colorado.
He was raised in Chariton (Iowa) Lodge No. 63 in 1855 and transferred his membership to a lodge in Council Bluffs, where he was postmaster from December 9th, 1857 to September 27th, 1858.
Helping to establish the town of Auraria, he became its first postmaster.
The Auraria directory of 1859 lists the Real Estate firm of Henry Allen, W. M. Slaughter, and R. Sopris, all Auraria Lodge members.
Brother Allen participated prominently in the Constitutional Convention of 1859 for the proposed Territory of Jefferson.
Leaving in the early sixties, he assisted in forming a new Lodge at Idaho City, Idaho, in 1864. He also helped in the pioneer Masonry of both Boise City, Idaho, and Helena, Montana, where he later moved.
The first cornerstone laying ceremony in 1870 was performed against Grand Master Henry M. Teller's better judgment. It was for the Denver Pacific Railway Company's depot in Denver, a building he considered was to be used for commercial purposes only. However, a committee from the Masonic bodies of Denver thought more harm might come from refusing than from performing the ceremonies, so he reluctantly consented. M. W. Bro. George M. Randall, Past Grand Master of Massachusetts, presided.
The cornerstone of the Masonic edifice at Sixteenth and Welton streets in Denver was laid on July 3rd, 1890. Every Grand Officer but one was present despite difficulties of travel.
The following day the cornerstone of the State Capitol was laid. A Masonic choir of a thousand voices furnished music.
When the Pueblo County courthouse cornerstone was laid in 1908, money was collected for the relief of workmen who might be injured during the construction. Midway through the building period a workman fell from a scaffold, breaking both legs and arms. Amputation was necessary. He was given a portion of the fund then and the remainder at the building's completion as there were no other injuries.
When the Pueblo Police building was erected in 1949 the Grand Lodge was asked to lay the cornerstone. Certain factions objected to a Masonic ceremony, calling Masonry a decadent organization. Over 850 Masons from Pueblo and the Arkansas valley, bringing aprons from their home lodges, marched in the procession from the lodge hall to the building site to show Masonry's strength.
Incumbent Grand Master Leon H. Snyder faced a new challenge in cornerstones this year. At the Adams County Courthouse in Brighton, he was asked to lay a square cornerstone in the northeast corner of a perfectly round building. At last squaring a circle?
TREATMENT OF EARLY DAY VISITORS
With a transient and shifting population of the frontier state and the desire of Brethren to mingle with their kind, there were a great many examinations of visitors in the early days.
M. W. Bro. Greenleaf in 1881 chided the members gently: "Visiting Brethren in some few instances have entered complaint in regard to their treatment by examining committees in Colorado. While investigation tends to show that the discourtesy complained of was rather that of manner than of intention, the feelings of some were very much hurt and they left the state with a bad opinion of Masons in this high altitude. It will therefore do no harm to call your attention to the importance of a kind, affable, and courteous reception of the stranger at our gates, and that you afford him every opportunity to prove himself of our Brethren and kin, and if entitled, to enter within the courts."
In 1915, fifty years after he had served the Grand Lodge as its fifth Grand Master, M. W. Bro. Chase Withrow of Black Hawk, No. 11, was asked to tell the Grand Communication of early times. He recalled: "In 1866, and along in that neighborhood, the Grand Lodge consisted of not to exceed 40 members. It met alternately in Central City and Denver for several years. Of those who took the greatest interest in the Fraternity the majority of them, at least, lived in Gilpin County, which was the important county of the state. Among them were Grand Masters Henry M. Teller and A. J. Van Deren...
"In those Lodges the work was an important feature, and it was by common consent a rule of our Lodges that no brother would be elected Master until after he had conferred the three degrees. . . There was no Masonic regulation to that effect but it was adopted as a rule of the Lodge that a Brother would not be elected Master until he had conferred the three degrees without help. . .
"Occasionally we had a pretty serious time in having a Grand Lodge Communication at all . . . Once Bro's. O. B. Brown and others snowshoed across the range to get to Central City. Sometimes they didn't get there at all and at times it was pretty difficult to get from Central to Denver. We had stage coaches but they were not absolutely sure and snow stopped them at times, but the interest was not excelled by the present time. Every member of the Grand Lodge and every member of a Lodge took such interest in the institution that it made it live and grow and succeed. In those days, the country was new and we were, most of us, strangers to one another but I notice that the men at that time were judges of human character. A man who was made a Mason was a credit to the institution. Our members were honorable men, and men of high standing-such men as Bro. Teller, Bro. Chivington, Bro. Orahood, and others."
THE PAST AND THE FUTURE
During the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Grand Lodge, Henry M. Teller, seven times Grand Master during the '60's and early '70's was presented with a book containing his complete Masonic record and references to many phases of his brilliant political career. It was enclosed in a solid silver case, an appropriate memento as he had been the nation's leading advocate of the free coinage of silver for many decades.
In his remarks he spoke not only of the past but the future of Colorado Masonry:
"Those days we took Masonry as we found it, and I believe we have improved it. I do not mean in the ritual, but I now think that we have a higher idea of it than we had 50 years ago, for if we did not, we would not keep up with the progress in the world. . . When we organized this Grand Lodge there was no law of Masonry here that so closely guarded the portals of Masonry (as the temperance question.) We took in men of doubtful character; at all events, we took in men who would dissipate somewhat, but you must remember that the world has progressed in the matter of temperance, for I can recollect that it was customary in most places to find a decanter on a side table that contained liquor. It was customary to invite every man that came in-and sometimes women-to have a social glass and in many cases it would have been regarded as an offense against good manners had they declined. . . Lodges were in the beginning nothing more than a social gathering, a drinking bout. We have nothing of that kind now.
"I have a general acquaintance in the United States such as few men have. I have met Masons in every part of the United States for in my younger days I took great pleasure in visiting different Lodges. When I think about it, I think Masons of this state are a better class than the Masons were when I was made a Mason. . . You should always endeavor to retain the same character. This can be done when every man does his duty in guarding the portals of the lodge. . .
"Fifty years from now we will have a centennial. I have wondered whether our order will continue to progress and improve and whether we will have a better membership fifty years from now than we have now. I do not suppose we will unless the human race grows universally better. . . If Masons continue to maintain the high standard, you may be sure they will be just as good or a little better fifty years from now."
Grand Lodge of Colorado A.F. & A.M.
1130 Panorama Drive,
Colorado Springs, Colorado. 80904
Main Telephone Number:
Fax Number: (719) 484-8993
January 24 and 26, 2019