The Beginnings of Masonry in Colorado and the City of Colorado Springs precede by several years the granting of statehood to the Territory of Colorado in 1876 and the founding of the City of Colorado Springs in 1871.
The establishment of the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Colorado stemmed from a small group of lodges in the mining camps in the Territory of Colorado under charters granted by the Grand Lodges of the States of Kansas and Nebraska. These lodges gathered in Golden City in 1861, fifteen years before Colorado became a state, and established the Grand Lodge of Colorado.
In 1867 this newly established Grand Lodge chartered El Paso Lodge No. 13, the first lodge to be located in Colorado City, now a part of the City of Colorado Springs, a city which was not founded until four years later in 1871.
In 1889 a charter was granted to Colorado Springs Lodge No. 76, followed by the chartering of Tejon Lodge No. 104 in 1898.
Shortly following the chartering of El Paso Lodge No. 13 A.F. & A.M. in 1867, an item of concern to our pioneer brethren was the matter of a burial ground for Masons of the area. In August of 1871 a committee, appointed to select a suitable site for that purpose, recommended purchase of a site on the mesa west of the city. In 1872, as a result of that recommendation, El Paso Lodge purchased approximately twenty acres for a total cost of twenty-two dollars and fifty cents. No records have been found to establish that the site was ever used as a cemetery. For one hundred years it remained unused and undeveloped until it became the site for the new Masonic Temple.
The Site Shortly following the chartering of El Paso Lodge No. 13 A.F. & A.M. in 1867, an item of concern to our pioneer brethren was the matter of a burial ground for Masons of the area. In August of 1871 a committee, appointed to select a suitable site for that purpose, recommended purchase of a site on the mesa west of the city. In 1872, as a result of that recommendation, El Paso Lodge purchased approximately twenty acres for a total cost of twenty-two dollars and fifty cents. No records have been found to establish that the site was ever used as a cemetery. For one hundred years it remained unused and undeveloped until it became the site for the new Masonic Temple.
Colorado Springs First Masonic Temple
After meeting in rented halls since their inception in 1898 the three Blue Lodges in Colorado Springs evidenced their desire for a home of their own, a Masonic Temple, by appropriating a portion of the initiation fees for the building fund. By 1906 this fund had grown to approximately $2,500 and renewed enthusiasm prompted action resulting in the incorporation of The Colorado Springs Masonic Building Society in 1907.
The Society promptly acquired a site at 9 North Nevada Avenue in the center of the growing community and proceeded with plans and financing for the construction of a temple.
The cornerstone of Colorado Springs' first Masonic Temple was laid by the Grand Master of Masons in Colorado on May 4, 1908. The Temple was dedicated with an elaborate three-day ceremony ending December 2, 1908.
This Temple, nationally known and acclaimed for the beauty of its Egyptian Lodge Room, served the fraternity for over sixty years. As plans progressed for a new and larger temple to meet the needs of the growing membership the Temple was sold in 1966 and was demolished upon the completion of the new Temple. However, all salvageable portions of the Egyptian Lodge Room were carefully removed and used in the construction of this unique room in the new Temple.
The monies received from the sale of the Temple at 9 North Nevada Avenue, actually a legacy from the Masonic pioneers in El Paso County, constituted a major factor in the financing of the new Temple.
A Dream Becomes A Reality
The steady growth of the community with its accompanying increase in Masonic membership was greatly accelerated during and following World War II, so much so, in fact, that the Temple at 9 North Nevada Avenue proved increasingly inadequate. In July of 1946 a committee was formed to study the need for a new and larger temple. In 1966 El Paso Lodge leased approximately six acres of land owned by the Lodge on the mesa west of the city to the Masonic Building Society as the site for a new temple. Subsequently, a portion of these six acres was leased to The Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Colorado as a site for its Library, Museum, and Office Building. The rest of the land was sold and the proceeds invested by El Paso Lodge in the new Masonic Temple.
Within short driving time and distance from the central part of the city via Uintah Street and Mesa Road, the site is equally convenient to the northeast via Fillmore Street and to the south and west over 21st Street and Fontmore Road.
At the centennial celebration of El Paso Lodge October 7, 1967, plans were formally announced for construction of a new Temple. Plans proceeded and on October 18, 1971, a contract was awarded for the construction. On Saturday, January 15, 1972, impressive cornerstone ceremonies were conducted by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Colorado.
Construction and furnishing of the Temple were completed in January of 1973. The move from the old Temple at 9 North Nevada Avenue followed, and the first lodge meetings were held in the new Temple in February of 1973.
More than 2500 members and friend of the fraternity were afforded an opportunity to inspect the new Temple at an open house on Sunday, February 18, 1973. On Saturday, March 17, 1973, the afternoon groundbreaking ceremony for the Grand Lodge Library, Museum, and Office Building was followed by the dedication of the new Temple and the consecration of the Egyptian and the American Lodge Rooms by the Grand Lodge.