Lodge History 1854-2004

(History given at the 150th Anniversary of Key Lodge #7 by Dale Ezell P:.M:. on April 10, 2004)

Key Lodge #7 was organized in 1853 and chartered November 9, 1854 on Lindsey Prairie in Hico Community which was a settlement northeast of what is now Siloam Springs. Number 7 was the number of Napoleon Lodge in Desha County which was chartered in 1842 and went defunct in the late 1840s. Therefore when Key Lodge was chartered it was given #7.

The first known Lodge building is also where the First Baptist Church also met. The Church at that time was called Key Lodge Church , and later became First Baptist Church . The Masons allowed churches and schools the use of their buildings.

In 1872 a new school building was constructed in Hico. Key Lodge #7 met on the lower floor and the Church met on the second level. The schoolhouse was located near Sager Creek where the present transformer station is now on Tahlequah and Madison Streets.

The first Worshipful Master of Key Lodge #7 was Brother Daniel Mason who was also the first Worshipful Master of Cincinnati Lodge #102.

Siloam Springs was founded in 1881, but according to Lodge Minutes Key Lodge was still meeting in Hico in 1892. Brother Daniel Mason, the first Master, was now a member of Cincinnati Lodge. On June 10, 1892 Brother Mason visited Key Lodge and made a few appropriate remarks as follows: "That he was first made a Mason at Cane Hill Lodge #57 F&AM, and that thirty nine years ago, he with several others as charter members, opened Key Lodge #7 F&AM working under a dispensation, he being its first Master. He said that he expected to go to New Mexico this fall, and wished a recommendation from this and other Lodges of which he has been a member".

"Motion with second that the recommendation be granted. Motion granted. Motion with second that Key Lodge #7 offer this as a resolution of respect to Brother D. B. Mason for being one of the charter members working under a dispensation. Also for being the first Master. Motion carried".

In May 1881 minutes a motion was carried that the Lodge participate in picnic of 24th June. Resolution: "Whereas there is to be a picnic at Siloam Springs 24th June 1881 Resolved that there be a committee appointed to confer with citizens in regard to proper arrangements. Invite neighboring Lodges to participate, and invite some Brother to deliver a Masonic Address at that time and place.

On December 29, 1890 at 10:00 AM the minutes show that a meeting was called for the purpose of honoring the anniversary of St. John's Day, and for the purpose of Advance Lodge installing their Officers for the ensuing year. After installation a dinner was served and a good time had by all.

1. On June 24, 1891 "A stated meeting was held of Key Lodge #7 in the Hall of Advance Lodge #435 by special invitation of Advance Lodge. The object of the meeting was to celebrate the anniversary of St. John's Day, and install the officers of the Lodge for the ensuing Masonic year. The Lodge was called to refreshment, and then marched 2 blocks east and then back west to St. Nickolas Avenue, and then to the Park where the officers were publicly installed".

Advance Lodge #435 was chartered in Siloam Springs in 1886. The only record we have of this Lodge is from the Minutes of Key Lodge #7. According to October 1893 minutes "W. F. Brooks notified Advance Lodge that he wanted the Hall at the expiration of this month". "A motion was made and seconded that a committee be appointed to make an effort to unite the two Lodges. Motion carried". The Grand Master was consulted on the matter of consolidating the two Lodges. November 4, 1893 it was "reported that it would be advisable for the Secretary to notify all members of Advance Lodge that at the next regular meeting on November 18, 1893 that a vote would be taken on the proposition to surrender it's charter, and it was considered best for Advance Lodge to give up their charter and go to Key Lodge #7". On November 17, 1893 at a stated meeting of Key Lodge a vote was taken to receive Advance Lodge #435 provided Advance Lodge wished to unite with Key Lodge. On the 18th Advance Lodge did vote to unite with Key Lodge #7.

We have no record of when Key Lodge #7 moved from Hico to Siloam Springs, but the minutes of 1892 show they were still meeting in Hico. In September of 1911 the minutes show that "a proposition was made to trade the Hall for the room over the Lyric Theater. Committee was appointed and authorized to trade to Mr. Shaw, also to lease the room over Alfrey and Alfrey for $100.00 a year". At the next meeting it was reported the trade had been made. Then in December of 1911 a committee was appointed and empowered to buy the front rooms of the Hall and pay $500.00. In February 1912 the committee reported the rooms had been purchased, and the Lodge was to relinquish the stairs in the rear.

A search was made for the location of these buildings. From records at the Siloam Springs museum it was found a "Lyric" building was located on the corner of Mt. Olive and University Streets. This building had a stage but no roof. So it could not have been the building the Masons met in. The Alfrey and Alfrey building was a clothing store on West University Street near the Henry Hardware and the Crown Hotel.

The Lodge and Eastern Star met at a building at the corner of Broadway and Central Streets previous to moving into the current building in 1962. In 1983 the dining room was added with money from the estate of Brother Bob and Sister Louise Frazier, two very dedicated members.

The Lodge has had two Most Worshipful Grand Masters, Brother L. P. Kemper in 1915 and Brother Leslie M. Greene in 1957. In 1962 the Lodge had approximately 250 members, and today we have 62 members.

Highlights from Old Minutes:

  • 1876 "Report of Secretary and Treasurer; Amount on hand $66.15. Grand Lodge Dues $66.15. Balance $00.00".
  • 1876 "Lodge donated WM his dues for this year and Master donated them back to the Lodge".
  • May 1876 "Moved and carried that the actions of the Master and Wardens regarding burial expenses for a Brother $9.30 be endorsed".
  • December 1878 "On motion the dues was reduced from $2.00 to $1.00 a year, and motion carried to donate back $1.00 of dues to each member for the year of 1878. Motion carried to reduce the Secretary's and Treasurer's pay to $5.00".
  • September 1879 "Charges and specifications against a Brother for introducing and selling whisky in the Cherokee Nation contrary to the laws of the United States".
  • October 1882 "S. A. Thomason and C. D. Gunter excused attending Lodge because of old age".
  • August 1911 "Electric light account allowed $9.60 for services from July 1, 1910 to July 1, 1911 ".
  • February 1912 "Brother Mahan appointed to look after Brother Alfred Thomason who was sick and needed attention. He was a member of Kansas Lodge #258, Okla ".
  • April 1912 "Charges against a Brother to the effect that he has been Neglecting his wife, Not providing the Necessities of life, or any fuel while he attended the Grand Commandry in Hot Springs . The Officers of the Lodge did send her coal, etc".
  • 1913 "This year was outstanding because of men balloted on and found clear, and no degrees conferred".
Key Lodge #7
200 N College
Siloam Springs, AR 72761

Stated Meeting
First Tuesday, 6:30PM

Practice, Work, or Coffee
Every Tuesday, 6:30PM

Rainbow Assembly #11
Second and Fourth Monday, 7:00PM

2015 Officers
Worshipful Master - Jon Martin
Senior Warden - Jason Rooney
Junior Warden - Michael Lewis
Secretary - Christopher M. Hobbs P:.M:.
Treasurer - Wes Stephenson P:.M:.
Senior Deacon - Kelvin Hobbs
Junior Deacon - Chris Mason
Tyler - George Hillhouse P:.M:.
Chaplain - Max Thomas, P:.M:.