University Lodge first met under dispensation in 1904 under the sponsorship of St. John's Lodge #9, also of Seattle. The first meeting was called to order at 8:00 P.M. on November 7, 1904 in Sherricks Hall, located on the SW corner of 42nd and University Way with James Begg as its Worshipful Master. Our charter was granted in 1905, and for a brief of time the Lodge was known as University Lodge #140. Anvil Lodge in Nome, Alaska was granted a charter at the same time and there was a mix-up with the numbers. Eventually, Anvil Lodge became #140 and University Lodge became #141.
In the Fall of 1908, a committee recommended the purchase of a lot on "14th Ave NE near East 45th St." (sic) for the princely sum of $3,150. In March 1909, the Lodge secured a contract with the federal government whereby they would rent a portion of the new building for a Post Office for five years. On the strength of this contract, financing was secured and ground was broken. Construction was complete in October of that year, and on October 18th the Lodge held its first meeting in our current location.
University Lodge has served the north end of Seattle for over 100 years. As time passed, we have merged with other north-end lodges and we are now an amalgamation of George Washington Lodge, Ravenna Lodge, Constellation Lodge, and Arcana Lodge.
What do we do?
Freemasonry is the world's oldest fraternity. Accordingly, we are first and foremost an organization of men who share certain values, such as friendship, learning, and charity. The fraternity as we know it evolved out of the ancient guilds of masons who built the great cathedrals of Europe, men who were often the only non-nobles who were literate and studied math, geometry, and science. Men who were not skilled in operative masonry but who were curious about such things gradually came to be "accepted" into the stonemasons' lodges, where they found an environment conducive to education and self-improvement. They came to view the tools of the operative masons in more allegorical terms. For example, the square could not only check the trueness of a stone for the builder's work, but might allegorically be used to check the virtue of one's conduct. As time passed, these "speculative" masons came to outnumber their operative brethren, eventually turning into the fraternity we love today.
Each lodge has its own distinct personality and mission. University Lodge seeks to be involved with the University District community, and actively supports charitable institutions, such as the Roots Young Adult Shelter. We cherish our proximity to the University of Washington and strive to strengthen our ties with that institution. We tend to be inspired by Age of Enlightenment sensibilities and a desire to be of service to our neighbors.
On a more personal level, we simply enjoy the company of like-minded men. We do not countenance bigotry or laziness. We believe that it's better to build up than tear down. We take the lesson of the level, that we are all equal and travelling upon the same path through life, very seriously, and most of us are the kinds of guys who would throw rocks at glass ceilings. We care not one whit where you work or go to church, how you earn your living, or about your political persuasions. But we do care a great deal about the strength of your character, the quality of your mind, and what kind of friend, husband, or father you make. These are the only measures by which candidates for admission are judged.
And very often, it must be said, we just get together without dwelling much on anything terribly high-minded. We are a fraternity, after all, and sometimes meet up to attend concerts, ride motorcycles, play golf, tour antique car museums, or just hang out and watch a ball game.
Would I enjoy Masonry?
You might. If any of the above resonates with you, that's a good sign. Our ceremonies make extensive use of an old and florid style of speaking, and so an appreciation for some amount of ceremony and solemnity is helpful. The main thing, though, is a desire to participate in something greater than yourself, and to uplift yourself and others through your work in the community and fellowship with your brothers.
A peculiar aspect of Freemasonry is that, by tradition, we do not invite people to join-- you must initiate the process. The requirements are few; you must be a male, at least 18 years of age, profess a belief in a supreme being, and be of good report before the world. If any of this interests you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or come by one of the stated meeting to meet us and learn more.