In the 1850s, pioneers were prospecting for gold in the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Among them were seven Freemasons: Dr. Levi Russell, Henry Allen, W.M. Slaughter, Oscar Lehow, Andrew Sagendorf, J.D. Ramage and Charles Blake. These men held the first Masonic meeting in the Colorado territory on November 3, 1858. A year later, these men received dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Kansas to meet as Aruaria Lodge in the frontier town of Denver. In 1861, the Lodge was rechartered as Denver Lodge № 5.
Colorado’s second charter came into the territory, also from Kansas, for Golden City Lodge, dated October 17, 1860. In 1861, the Grand Lodge of Nebraska chartered Summit Lodge at Parksville, Colorado and then Rocky Mountain Lodge at Gold Hill, Colorado. On August 2, 1861, these three lodges met at Golden City and formed the Grand Lodge of Colorado– almost 15 years before Colorado joined the Union as the “Centennial State.”
One of the most important early Coloradans was Henry M. Teller (1830-1914). He was the first U.S. senator from Colorado in 1876. In 1903, he switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party, yet continued to serve as Colorado’s senator until 1909. In between senatorial terms, he was Secretary of the Interior in President Arthur’s administration (1882-1885). He was the third Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Colorado in 1863 and then served again between 1867 and 1872.
Besides countless local activities, Colorado Freemasons raise funds for high school band camp scholarships, college and vocational educational grants, and Colorado Teacher of the Year awards. They also jointly support the Robert Russell Eastern Star Masonic Retirement and Assisted Living Center in Denver.
Today, Grand Master Phillip E. Moss, Jr. presides over the Grand Lodge of Colorado comprised of more than 115 lodges with a membership of more than 7,500 brothers.