The Grand Lodge of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of the State of New Mexico

Grand Lodge of the Month - January 2015

Eight men created the Grand Lodge of Masons in New Mexico one mid-summer day in 1877.

The eight represented a total membership of only 165 Masons in four of the ten lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge of Missouri. The Missouri Grand Lodge over the years provided a District Deputy Grand Master empowered to do about anything he deemed proper. But the Mother Grand Lodge was a thousand miles away.

These New Mexico Masons felt the need for a Grand Lodge of their own. The problems were so different and the Masons here so few. They wanted an organization dedicated to building lodges and communities in this new country. Yet perhaps the greatest need of these men was friendship with those holding like beliefs.

So the eight men climbed the steps of Montezuma Lodge in Santa Fe, August 6, 1877. They might have paused, before they entered the lodge room, to look at the Plaza and at the Place of the Governors located across a narrow road to the east. The Palace of the Governors was built in 1610. It was the seat of government for Spain, for Mexico, and after 1846 of the United States until 1909. Sometimes its three-foot adobe walls made it a fortress in early Spanish and Mexico history.

On that first day of meetings a committee was named to prepare a constitutions and bylaws. The members had done their work ahead of time, because at 7:30 that evening the draft was ready for the eight to consider. The remainder of the evening, as well as a couple of hours the next morning , were spent discussing it. The constitution and bylaws, with some amendments, together with seal, were approved. The seal is still in use today. The title, “The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of New Mexico” remains unchanged. The titles of the officers remain the same: “Most Worshipful” for the Grand Master and “Right Worshipful” for all other elected officers.

Discussion of the esoteric work came the next day. More time was spent on this than on the constitution and bylaws. The new Grand Lodge adopted Missouri work, and that work remained in use for more than half a century. The per capita fee for members was set at one dollar, committees were appointed and 200 copies of the proceedings were ordered printed to be sent to all Grand Lodges and to the constitute lodges in New Mexico.

As New Mexico grew, Masonry came to the new communities. The new lodges aided not only their members but helped in building the towns in which they were formed. Among the new lodges were men equal to the strength of the founders and the lodges provided the friendship men need and the principles they seek to follow

The old lodge hall is gone. Once hundred and thirty seven years later those founding lodges—Montezuma Lodge &8470; 1 in Santa Fe, Chapman Lodge &8470; 2 in Las Vegas, Aztec Lodge &8470; 3 in Las Cruces and Union Lodge &8470; 4 in Wagon Mount—and fifty other constituted lodges in New Mexico continue to work.

Today, Grand Master Kevin K. Schwebel over the Grand Lodge of New Mexico with a membership of nearly 4,500 brothers. New Mexico Freemasonry has had such prominent members as Kit Carson, Gov. Richard C. Dillion (1877–1966), U.S. Senator Clinton P. Anderson (1895–1975), and author of Ben Hur, Civil War General and Governor of the New Mexico Territory Lew Wallace (1827–1905).

Grand Lodge of New Mexico, AF&AM
1638 University Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102