FRIENDSHIP LODGE #7
Chartered By: X
Dispensation Date: date
Charter Date: date
Current Status: status
Meeting Date: Saturday on or before the full moon.
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
At the close of the eighteenth century there were six Masonic Lodges in Rhode Island. These were situated on or near Narragansett Bay. The northwestern part of the state was without a Lodge. Chepachet at that time was the principal village in northwestern Rhode Island. A few brethren resident in the village or its vicinity desired the establishment of a new Lodge. Accordingly, in the year 1800, a Dispensation was granted by the Grand lodge of Rhode island for the constituting of “Friendship Lodge, No. 1, at the town of Gloster.” This was the first “fresh water” Lodge in the State, as stated by the historian of the Lodge, Bro. Frank H. Potter.
During the first year, the Lodge held its meetings in the rooms of taverns or in private houses. It was very difficult to obtain a hall for the regular use of the Lodge so in 1802, it was unanimously voted to build a hall. The brethren had but little strength financially and yet were able to procure the necessary means, so that in the winter of 1802 the building was completed. It was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies on December 7th of that year. The members of the Lodge, in number about 30, resided at places quite distant from each other and from the new hall. They were accustomed, therefore, to meet as early as nine o’clock in the forenoon. Late hours were looked upon with such aversion that on one occasion a vote was passed that “for the future no more business shall be done after nine o’clock at night, except in cases of emergency.” It was the custom in those days, immediately after the annual election to repair to the Meeting House, where an address on Masonry was delivered by some prominent brother, after which refreshments were served in the Lodge room.
Friendship Lodge worked under Dispensation until 1805, when the Grand Lodge voted to grant a Charter. On October 21, 1805 the Grand Lodge formally consecrated Friendship Lodge and installed its officers.
As the town of Burrillville increased in population, it contributed more and more to the membership of Friendship Lodge, until in 1850, so many members came from that section, that it was deemed best to hold meetings alternately in Chepachet and Burrillville. Permission having been granted by the Grand Lodge, this plan was followed for a few years. In 1867, however, Granite Lodge was established in Burrillville. The two Lodges worked in concurrent jurisdiction for some fifteen years, until a boundary line was established between them.
The Masonic Hall in Chepachet is the second oldest Lodge room in the state. The styles of architecture and furnishings are of ancient design. But little change has been made, and it remains today one of the quaintest buildings in the town, a notable memorial of days long gone by.