Florida was captured and owned by various nations before becoming a state in 1845. It was first a Spanish Colony that sold to Great Britain in 1763, ceded back to Spain in 1783, and lastly, the whole territory was sold to the United States in 1821. The first few masonic lodges in the Florida territory were charted from Scotland in 1768 and were called Grant’s East Florida Lodge № 142. In 1771, St. Andrew’s Lodge in Pensacola was chartered with the most of the brothers of this lodge being members of St. George’s Lodge № 108 (military) attached to the 31st Regiment of Foot. Between the 1770’s and early 1820’s several lodges were organized but were short lived.
The first permanent Lodge in Florida was Jackson Lodge № 23 in Tallahassee, chartered by the Grand Lodge of Alabama in 1825. The Grand Lodge of Georgia chartered Washington Lodge № 1 at Quincy in 1828 and Harmony Lodge in Jackson County in 1829. These three lodges met on July 6, 1830 and formed the Grand Lodge of Florida, some 15 years before Florida joined the Union as the 27th state.
The Florida Masonic Home was built in 1902 near St. Petersburg. Originally built for children and orphans, its purpose had changed over the years as it developed into a retirement village and home for widows of Masons. Its 150,000 square foot facility accommodates 187 residents.
Today, Grand Master Richard D. Hoover presides over the Grand Lodge of Florida that is comprised of more than 282 Lodges with a membership of more than 38,000 brothers. Florida freemasonry has had such prominent members as President Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) when he was territorial governor of Florida in 1821, Senator Charles O. Andrews (1877-1946), US Representative Claude D. Pepper (1900-1989) and Jefferson B. Brown (1857- 1925) Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Count 1917- 1923, among many other important Floridians.