Michael McMillan, Junior Grand Warden, speaks to the small crowd in front of the Masonic Temple Oct. 27. During the ceremony, the Historic Landmark plaque from the City of Littleton was affixed to the building, which was built in 1921. Photo by Courtney Kuhlen | firstname.lastname@example.org
Many issues that come before Littleton City Council are controversial, notes Mayor Debbie Brinkman, but this one she called a “no-brainer.”
Members of Littleton's Weston Masonic Lodge celebrated its designation as a historic landmark, and its 140th anniversary, with a ceremonial cornerstone rededication on Oct. 27.
“The cornerstone is laid according to the ancient ceremonies of the craft,” declared Grand Master Karl Hinkle at the ritual's conclusion.
The lodge was chartered on Sept. 24, 1872, and council officially declared the building at 5718 S. Rapp St. a landmark in July 2011.
“It's an architectural anchor for downtown Littleton,” said Margi Clute, vice chair of the Littleton Historic Preservation Board.
The building has stood there virtually unchanged since 1921. Most Littleton residents are probably so used to seeing it that they forget it's there, and have very little idea what goes on inside.
“It's a group of like-minded men who believe in God, country, morals, friendship, brotherhood and charity,” explained Walt Ashlock. He said Masons don't ask what god you believe in, but they do require members to acknowledge a belief in a supreme being.
Members of the lodge took the opportunity to remind everyone they're a big part of the community and one of its oldest institutions. In 1872, members met next door in the general store (now Three Chimneys/Natural Surroundings). Notable members have included Ed Bemis, Charles Louthan and William Sterne. The lodge created Littleton's fire department in 1890, and owned Littleton Cemetery from 1875 to 1888.
“There's an inextricable intertwinement of the lodge and the city of Littleton,” said Hinkle.
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a former Marine, noted that American Masons have an important connection to the Marines. They both were born at the infamous Tun Tavern in Philadelphia — the Masons in 1732 and the Marines in 1775.
“The Freemasons have a long and distinct history in America,” he told the crowd.
As far as charity — everyone's familiar with the Shriners, their funny hats, their little motorcycles and their children's hospitals. But did you know that all Shriners are Masons? Other subgroups, some of which accept women, include Eastern Star, Rainbow Girls, Scottish Rite, Knights Templar and York Rite, all of which focus on a different charity.
Those curious about the Masons or the building are welcome to attend their monthly $5 pancake breakfast each second Saturday. They also run a free child ID program, which was developed by a local Mason and is used by the Texas Rangers, during Western Welcome Week's Festival Day.