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Warren Lodge No. 10

Behind the Southern Oregon Historical Society Museum in Jacksonville stands a monument to the first Masonic Temple south of Salem.

In the spring of 1855, while Jacksonville was still a gold-mining boomtown and the Indian wars still raged, 14 men decided to request a charter from the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. The charter was delivered in August, and the men looked for a place to meet. For several years they rented various rooms for their functions.

There were 36 members in 1858 when Warren Lodge No. 10 contracted with members Linn and Burpee to build a second story on the wood-frame county courthouse for their hall. After getting permission from the county, the hall was built at a cost of $780. The 1968 monument commemorates the building.

Less than a decade later, the county purchased the second story, and the Masons — now 70 strong — rented from the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Finally, in 1875, the fine brick temple on the corner of Oregon and California streets was built and still stands today.

Below the first monument is a second one, laid in 2005, celebrating 150 years of Freemasonry in Southern Oregon and of “Doing Good Unto All.”

As It Was is a co-production of Jefferson Public Radio and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. As It Was stories are broadcast weekdays on Jefferson Public Radio and are available online at asitwas.org.

Jacksonville's Masonic Building with arch over street for parade, crowd in front and dog lying in the street, circa 1900.