Masonry, or Freemasonry as it is more properly called is an international fraternity, whose origins go back to the builders of those remarkable structures created in the Gothic style of architecture during the Middle Ages in Europe and England.
They were organized into lodges and used signs, symbols and passwords, and were separated into different grades or degrees of skills with the Master Mason being the highest, similar to a contractor or architect today.
It was here, in Montana’s first territorial capital, that Montana Masonry got its start and helped bring law and order to the Wild West at the same time. On June 23, 2000, the Grand Lodge of Masons officially chartered Bannack Lodge (3-7-77) as the first Historic Lodge in the state to help preserve the building and the heritage of Masonry.
Mason’s Annual Meeting in September at Bannack
The Bannack Historic Masonic Lodge 3-7-77 holds their annual meeting at Bannack on the second Saturday of September each year, with typically over 20 delegates from various states in attendance. The mission of this lodge is “to work with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks for continued maintenance and stabilization of the building, along with the upkeep of the lodge, its furniture and paraphernalia; and for the preservation of the heritage, sights, and history of masonry relating to the Bannack area while enjoying and promoting the fraternity.”
The Historic lodge has a membership of nearly 1,000 individuals who are committed to preserving this valuable part of Montana’s history. To date the masons have funded projects to replace the roof and stabilize the interior floor of the lodge/school house, assisted with replacement of the roof on the state house in Bannack, and also provided funding to replace the exterior siding and for the stabilization of the stairway leading to the upper floor of the lodge.