Freemasonry in the territory of what is now Minnesota began in 1849 when a newly arrived migrant James M. Goodhue placed the following in the May 26 Minnesota Pioneer: “Members of the Masonic Fraternity, in and near St. Paul, intent to meet together in a room over the Pioneer office on Thursday evening next, May 31st, at six o’clock.”
Three months later, the first lodge of Masons in the territory met in the St. Paul Hotel. In 1852, the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin issued a charter for St. John’s Lodge as St. John’s Lodge № 39 and the Grand Lodge of Illinois issued a charter to the third lodge, Cataract Lodge organized in St. Anthony, Minnesota as Cataract Lodge № 121. Those Masons meeting at the St. Paul Hotel received their charter from Ohio in 1853 as St. Paul Lodge № 223. Within the year, the three lodges constituted the Grand Lodge of Minnesota – five years before Minnesota became a state. Within three years, five more lodges were chartered and by 1865 there were 49 lodges. In 1903, in its Golden Jubilee year, the Grand Lodge had chartered 225 lodges and membership was over 18,000.
In July 1920, the Minnesota Masonic Home opened in Bloomington. Today it houses nearly 300 people in independent living, assisted living and 24-hour care. In 1999, care was expanded by adding Minnesota Masonic Home North Ridge and “CareBreak” Adult Day and Transportation Program in New Hope, Minnesota. Masonic Home Northridge is home for more than 700 residents. Besides countless local activities, the Grand Lodge and its constituent lodges and Minnesota Masonic Charities provide over $300,000 in scholarships to high school seniors annually. And for over five decades, the Grand Lodge has supported the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota and has donated or pledged $100 million dollars to find a cure for cancer.
Today, Grand Master John B. Studell presides over the Grand Lodge of Minnesota comprised of 134 lodges with a membership of almost 13,000 brothers. Minnesota Freemasonry has had such prominent members as Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, Governor and Senator Harold Stassen, founder of the Patrons of Husbandry “The Grange” Oliver H. Kelly, and Doctors William and Charles Mayo. We invite you to learn more about Minnesota Masonry today by visiting our website.