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History

Freemasonry in Iowa

Many people are proud of their heritage.  By petitioning for membership in an Iowa Masonic lodge, you will be associated with an Iowa fraternal order that was organized in 1844, several years before our state was admitted into the Union.  Freemasonry, however, dates its formal beginnings to the 17th Century.  Thus, you will become, upon acceptance, a member of not only the oldest (and most prestigious) fraternity in Iowa, but also in the entire world.  You will become a member of an organization whose Iowa roots extend back to our first territorial governor and whose heritage includes many of Iowa’s finest citizens.

There were many Masons among the vanguard of pioneers that came to the Territory in the early 1840’s.  They came in wagons and on boats, settled along the Mississippi, and staked their claims.  Some of them were farmers, but there were also merchants, teachers, businessmen, miners, lawyers, and politicians, all of them anxious and excited about the opportunities that awaited them in the “heartland” — Iowa — “the beautiful land” as the Indians called it.

By the time the “Iowa Territory” was two years old, the settlers discovered they had a fraternal kinship.  According to the records, the first Masonic meeting in the Iowa Territory was held on the evening of November 6, 1840, in the Burlington carpenter shop of Brother Evan Evans.  As a result of that meeting, a dispensation was granted on November 20, 1840, by the Grand Lodge of Missouri to form a Masonic lodge at Burlington.

Several months later (on February 4, 1841) similar action was taken resulting in the formation of Iowa Lodge No. 2 at Bloomington (later to become Muscatine).

Dubuque Lodge No. 3 was officially formed by the pioneer Masons in Dubuque on October 10, 1842.

On December 9, 1842, nine Masons met in Iowa City to organize the last of the four lodges which would form the Grand Lodge of Iowa, A.F. & A.M.

A delegation was appointed to attend the next session of the Grand Lodge of Missouri with a petition to form the Grand Lodge of Iowa.  The request was granted on January 2, 1844, and, just one week later, delegates from those first four lodges met in a room over Sanxer’s Iron Store in Iowa City and organized the Grand Lodge of Iowa, A.F. & A.M.

The first four lodges were officially designated as Des Moines Lodge No. 1 (with 25 members), Iowa Lodge No. 2 (with 20 members), Dubuque Lodge No. 3 (with 28 members), and Iowa City Lodge No. 4 (with 28 members).  Total membership of the Grand Lodge of Iowa was 101 members.

Grand Lodge of Iowa published volumes in PDF format.
The files are large and take a while to load

Memorial Volume Charles Trumbull Granger Grand Lodge History – Volume 1
Grand Lodge History – Volume 2 Part 1 Grand Lodge History – Volume 2 Part 2
Grand Lodge History – Volume 3 Grand Lodge History – Volume 4