Freemasonry came to Connecticut on November 12, 1750 when the “Lodge at New Haven,” now Hiram Lodge № 1, was chartered by the St. John’s Provincial Grand Lodge of Boston. General David Wooster was the first &ldquoWorshipful Master&rdquo of the lodge, and later lost his life during the Revolutionary War. The David Wooster Award is the highest honor that can be given to a non-Mason. Hiram Lodge № 1 continues the practice of its ancient ritual as one of four lodges allowed to perform a ritual different from the “official” state ritual.
In 1783, discussion began for existing lodges to consolidate into a new Grand Lodge. Until then, lodges of Connecticut had been chartered from both the Grand Lodges of New York and Massachusetts. While these discussions did elect a Grand Master, Brother Pierpont Edwards, they did not coalesce into a Grand Lodge for another six years. On the afternoon of July 8, 1789, Brother Edwards was installed as Connecticut’s first Grand Master. He was re-elected for a second term a year later. The highest award of Connecticut Masonry, given since 1939, is named in his honor.
Originally, only fourteen lodges formed the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, but rapid growth spread Freemasonry across the state. By the end of 1957 there were 48,131 members and 132 chartered lodges. Today there are 10,803 members and 90 lodges. This past year saw Unity Lodge № 150 receive their charter.
In 1989, the Grand Lodge of Connecticut became the first Grand Lodge to recognize and maintain fraternal relations with its counterpart, the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Connecticut. This allows dual membership and full visitation between the two bodies and represents a model for other Grand Lodges to follow in order to promote the brotherly love and affection of Freemasonry.
The Grand Lodge meets twice per year at an Annual Communication in April and a Semi-Annual Regular Communication in October when election of the next year's officers takes place. There are eleven standing committees of the Grand Lodge, the most prominent being the Committee on Masonic Education which has presented a midsummer symposium of renown Masonic speakers for the past three years.
The jewel of Connecticut Masonry is the Masonicare Corporation, the largest non-profit healthcare system in the state benefiting the elderly. Begun with the return of $332 from contributions to the Grand Lodge of Illinois after the Great Chicago Fire, further donations to The Masonic Charity Foundation of Connecticut created a Masonic Home, and eventually, Masonicare.
Masonicare serves every corner of the state with its Home, Health & Hospice affiliate. Its two main locations in Newtown and Wallingford include skilled nursing, assisted living, and a nationally accredited continuing care retirement community. Grand Masters have always been proud to look at the investment in Masonicare, and state “This is our Grand Lodge; sharing Connecticut Masonry by serving the seniors of Connecticut!”
Today Grand Master Stephen W. Petri presides over more than 80 lodges and 9,000 Connecticut brothers.The Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Connecticut