The Grand Lodge of Nebraska was chartered in 1857 when Nebraska Lodge № 184 (chartered from the Grand Lodge of Illinois), Giddings Lodge № 156 (chartered from the Grand Lodge of Missouri) and Capitol Lodge № 101 (chartered from the Grand Lodge Of Iowa) came together to form the Grand Lodge Of Nebraska. Thus, Freemasonry predates statehood by ten years.
Upon formation, these three Masonic Lodges who first comprised the Grand Lodge would go onto become “Nebraska Lodge № 1,” “Western Star Lodge № 2,“ and “Capitol Lodge № 3,” respectively.
Robert C. Jordan of Capitol Lodge № 3, was the first Grand Master of Masons in Nebraska from 1857 through 1859. Today, a medal is presented in his name to the member with the longest period of good standing in each lodge in the state.
The Nebraska Masonic Home was incorporated in 1888 and established on September 1, 1903 in Plattsmouth, Nebraska. The Home is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of its residents by offering a continuum of care through gracious assisted living and quality nursing care to eligible members of the Masonic family.
The Masonic–Eastern Star Home for Children in Fremont was founded by the Nebraska Masons and Eastern Star members and has been providing quality child care for 100 years. Located in Fremont, Nebraska, the Children’s Home was initially intended to provide care for the children of Masons. Today, the Home cares for children separated from their homes dues to death, divorce, separation, neglect, abuse and inability to adjust to their present living situation. The Children’s Home seeks to provide an environment of love, security and acceptance where a child can grow and develop as an individual.
In 1985 the Grand Lodge established a charitable foundation with its board of directors elected by the all Nebraska Freemasons. Since this time the Foundation has sponsored scholarships, scholarships for the Masonic All–Star Marching Band and the Nebraska Freemasons Child Identification Program (CHIP). It also maintains a library and museum at the Grand Lodge office. It has provided financial assistance in reimbursement for Friendship/Prospect Nights held by subordinate lodges, and provided funding for the national Grand Master’s Conferences.
Today, the 151st Grand Master, Patrick D. Barger, presides over 123 local Lodges and more than 9,600 Brothers. Among its many distinguished and honored Brothers are William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, General of the Armies John J. Pershing, Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, Baseball Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn and numerous Nebraska governors, U.S. senators and congressmen. President Gerald R. Ford was born in Omaha, Nebraska, Raised to the sublime degree in Michigan where he attended college, and later became a member of Tangier Shrine Center in Omaha, Nebraska.