Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of California

Grand Lodge of the Month — September 2013

Most Worshipful Brother John F. Lowe, Grand Master

California has long been a beacon for those seeking the dream of a better life. Settled by Spain, coveted by England, annexed by Mexico, and finally admitted into the United States in 1850, California has become one of the largest economies in the world, as well as a symbol for a progressive and multicultural society.

During the Gold Rush of 1849, thousands of settlers came to California in search of fortune. Those who were Freemasons brought their rich traditions with them, soon establishing some of California’s first Masonic lodges in the mining towns of the Gold Country. In 1850—the same year that California became a state—the Grand Lodge of California was established. Originally convened in Sacramento, the San Francisco soon became the permanent home of the Grand Lodge.

Throughout its 160 year history, many eminent men have joined the ranks of the Craft in California. Some have gone on to become legends for their contributions: explorer Peter Lassen; military leaders Commodore John D. Sloat and Jonathan D. Stevenson; Past Grand Master and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court Earl Warren; actors Danny Thomas, Harold Lloyd and Roy Rogers; health instructor Jack Lalanne; patriot, clergyman and orator Thomas Starr King; aviator, doctor and inventor Forrest Bird; and Williams-Sonoma, Inc. founder Chuck Williams.

Today, the Grand Lodge of California boasts more than 57,000 members and 337 lodges located throughout the state, making it one of the largest Grand Lodges in the world. Since 1909, in memory of Masons such as John Swett who advocated a free public school system on the west coast, support the California public school system has been an important aspect of the Grand Lodge’s charitable outreach. In addition to the efforts of individual brethren and their lodges, the California Masonic Foundation provides qualified graduating high school seniors with college scholarships.

Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of California
1111 California Street
San Francisco, California 94108