Grand Lodge of Iowa
Ancient Free & Accepted Masons

Grand Lodge of the Month — July 2013

Most Worshipful Brother Bryce B. Hildreth, Grand Master

On the first day of January in 1844, representatives of four Masonic lodges in the Territory of Iowa met in Iowa City, the Territorial capital, and formed the Grand Lodge of Iowa. Three years later, Iowa was admitted to the Union as the 29th state on December 28, 1846.

Masonry in Iowa predates statehood by as much as six years. The Missouri Grand Lodge issued dispensations for lodges to Des Moines Lodge № 41 at Burlington and Iowa Lodge № 42 at Bloomington, now Muscatine, in 1840 with Charters coming in 1841. These two lodges were joined by Dubuque and Iowa City lodges, which received Missouri Charters in 1843, to create the Iowa Grand Lodge. The first four lodges were officially designated as Des Moines Lodge № 1 (with 25 members), Iowa Lodge № 2 (with 20 members), Dubuque Lodge № 3 (with 28 members), and Iowa City Lodge № 4 (with 28 members) for a total of 101 members.

The first Iowa Masonic Library was constructed in Cedar Rapids in 1884. As the collection grew, an annex was added. However, by the late 1930s, the building was running out of space and was in need of more repairs than could be cost justified, so plans began for a new building. Construction on the present Iowa Masonic Library and Museum began in 1953 and was completed in 1955.

The Iowa Masonic Library is universally recognized as one of the top six Masonic libraries in the world, ranking with those in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and London, England. It began with a $5.00 appropriation by the newly formed Grand Lodge in 1845. The first book purchased was Ahiman Rezon by Laurence Dermott. Today, researchers from around the world regularly use the Library.

The building also houses the administrative offices of the Grand Lodge of Iowa. Today, Grand Master Bryce B. Hildreth presides over 282 Lodges and more than 12,340 brothers. The Grand Lodge supports many charities and local community projects.

Grand Lodge of Iowa, A.F. & A.M.
813 1st Avenue SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402