Lead by Worshipful Master Heart, 7 Master Masons living in Pueblo CO formed the 17th Masonic Lodge in the Territory of Colorado and received their Charter from the Grand Lodge of Colorado AF&AM in 1868.
The first Master of Pueblo Lodge No. 17 served in the Oriental Chair of the East for 7 years during our founding, resting for a year only to serve as our elected Most Worshipful Grand Master of Colorado Masons.
Following the receipt of the Masonic Charter it was ordered that Officer Jewels be crafted and warrants for any cost of materials paid. Tin Jewels were cut from sheet metal and hung on the hearts of our founders by blue ribbons with purple, now faded, being designated for the Master of the Lodge. He wore the Square, the proper implement of his office.
Every State has a Grand Lodge, which is actually an organization of all the Masonic Lodges in that State. Many small towns have a Lodge; and large cities have several Masonic buildings where a number of Lodges meet. Africa, Asia, Austalia, Europe, North America, and South America all have Masonic Lodges and they have had them for centuries. In fact Masonry is spread over 60 countries around the globe.
The Grand Lodge of Colorado was constituted in 1861 in Golden City Colorado and has maintained jurisdiction over the AF & AM Lodges in the Territory, and later, State of Colorado. Masonry is the world's oldest and largest fraternity. Although the details of Masonry's beginnings are lost, it is certain that in 1717 four lodges met in a London coffeehouse and formed the first Grand Lodge or association of lodges.
The ancients taught that the sun was reborn each year as it passed through the zodiac on it annual journey. The same was believed of the moon as she waxed and waned during the course of the lunar month. Since our establishment, the Master of Lodge 17 has called Pueblo Masons to regularly communicate around the alter of freemasonry, often in honor of the solstice and equinox or beneath a new moon.
To this day, the recently renovated masonic building still illustrates the proper application of those useful rules of architecture from which form, strength, and beauty are derived. While sold in the last century for want of sufficient parking the old "Masonic Building" still stands today and a monument to the enduring nature of our principles and maxims. It can be found on Main Street, now home to newly renovated apartments.
Many buildings remembered in Pueblo have been home to Lodges of Masons through the years. We have usually met in the upper chambers of buildings, probably for the better security that such places afford. Our early homes were the rooms above stores, banks, and other commercial locations, a practice continued today.
Before Colorado had become a state, a small community of Masons had already begun to work, developing men in the community and serving the small town around Fort Pueblo. Our original charter was delivered by wagon from Golden City Colorado.
An early home of Lodge 17 was a room above the first Thatcher Bank, a prominent community family early in our town's history.
At one time in our early history many of our members worked their regular profession in the railroad business, even forming their own degree teams.
During the year of our Centennial Celebration Worshipful Brother Don Baker presided as Master of the Lodge and over our Celebration Ceremonies.
After 100 year, our officers proudly carry their silver jewels and velvet collar while never losing remembrance of those humble origins of our lodge and the great sacrifice of those who passed down to us the great traditions and craft of Speculative Masonry.
During 2018, the year of our 150th Anniversary Celebration Worshipful Brother Kerry Hart presided as Master of the Lodge and over our Celebration Ceremonies.
Worshipful Master - Kerry Hart
Senior Warden - Robert Tschida
Junior Warden - Paul Hohisel
Secretary - Don Mangin
Treasurer - Les Tedrow
Senior Deacon - David Martin
Junior Deacon - Jim Marcum
Marshal - John Montoya
Chaplin - Tony Quintana
Marching steadily into the future, Pueblo Masonry now has its home at the Pueblo Masonic Temple on Broadway near Abriendo. Here 3 masonic Lodges meet regularly to conduct business.
The plainest lodge room in the land was over Simpkins' Store,
Where Friendship Lodge had met each month for fifty years or more.
When o'er the earth the moon full-orbed had cast her brightest beams,
The Brethren came for miles around on horseback and in teams,
And O! what hearty grasp of hand, what welcome met them there,
As mingled with the waiting groups they slowly mount the stair,
Exchanging fragmentary news or prophecies of crop,
Until they reach the Tyler's room and current topics drop,
To turn their thoughts to nobler themes they cherish and adore,
And which were heard on meeting night up over Simpkins' Store.
To city eyes, a cheerless room, long usage had defaced,
The tell-tale lines of lath and beam on wall and ceiling traced.
The light from oil-fed lamps was dim and yellow in its hue,
The carpet once could pattern boast, though now 'twas lost to view.
The altar and the pedestals that marked the stations three,
The gate-post pillars topped with balls, the rude carved Letter G,
Were village joiners clumsy work, with many things beside,
Where beauty's lines were all effaced and ornament denied.
There could be left no lingering doubt, if doubt there was before,
The plainest lodge room in the land was over Simpkins' store.
While musing thus on outward form the meeting time drew near,
And we had a glimpse of inner life through watchful eye and ear.
When Lodge convened at gavel's sound with officers in place,
We looked for strange, conglomerate work, but could no errors trace.
The more we saw, the more we heard, the greater our amaze,
To find those country brethren there so skilled in Mason's ways.
But greater marvels were to come before the night was through,
Where unity was not mere name, but fell on heart like dew.
Where tenets had the mind imbued, and truths rich fruitage bore,
In plainest Lodge room in the land, up over Simpkins' store.
To hear the record of their acts was music to the ear,
We sing of deeds unwritten which on angel's scroll appear.
A widow's case - Four helpless ones - lodge funds were running low.
A dozen brethren sprang to feet and offers were not slow.
Food, rainment, things of needful sort, while one gave load of wood,
Another, shoes for little ones, for each gave what he could.
Then spake the last: "I haven't things like these to give - but then,
Some ready money may help out: - and he laid down a Ten.
Were brother cast on darkest square upon life's checkered floor,
A beacon light to reach the white - was over Simpkins' store.
Like scoffer who remained to pray, impressed by sight and sound,
The faded carpet 'neath our feet was now like holy ground.
The walls that had such a dingy look were turned celestial blue,
The ceiling changed to canopy where stars were shining through.
Bright tongues of flame from altar leaped, the G was vivid blaze,
All common things seemed glorified by heaven's reflected rays.
O! wondrous transformation wrought through ministry of love -
Behold the Lodge Room Beautiful! - fair type of that above,
The vision fades - the lesson lives! and taught as ne'er before,
In plainest Lodge room in the land - up over Simpkins' store.
Worshipful Brother Tom Scheulen serves as our Lodge Historian and Principal Archivist. He labors perpetually to organize historical documents and educate our members about those who came before whose work that we continue still centuries later.