The Etowah Masonic Lodge of Dawson County celebrated its 150-year anniversary Oct. 21.
More than 150 people attended the celebration, including several Grand Lodge Officers and Officers of the York Rite Bodies.
“We’re the oldest fraternal organization in Dawson County. We’ve been in continuous operation for 150 years,” said Bill Sexton, district deputy to the grand master J. Edward Jennings Jr.
The group’s first meeting was held in 1858.
The brotherhood received its charter from the Grand Lodge of Georgia the same year.
Soon after the first meeting, the lodge purchased a town lot in Dawsonville and constructed a lodge hall. The building was located on the Northwest side of the current old courthouse. Lodge meetings were held in that location until 1952 when the lodge purchased another lot on East First Street and continues to meet at that location today.
“This worldwide brotherhood tries to make good men better. All throughout history, masons have been helping somebody, somewhere. We do a lot of charity,” said Sexton,
The guest speaker for the 150-year celebration was Herbert Robinson.
Robinson Elementary was named after him.
Robinson is a long time member of Etowah Lodge and served as Master of the Lodge in 1948, 1950 and 1951.
He also served as lodge secretary for 11 years. Robinson has been a member of the lodge for more than 65 years.
“He spoke of the lodge in his early years, and some of the struggles and trials masonry has overcome through the years,” said James Swafford, secretary of the lodge. “Dr. Robinson challenged every mason to study masonry more than they ever have and to seek out the truths of the fraternity.”
“We think its great that we have a fraternity that has been active in this area for 150 years. We are very proud,” Swafford added.
“We have a long history of doing good in this community,” said Sexton.
Etowah Lodge has not only provided scholarships for local students, but has also purchased equipment for the local schools and library. The county library used the lodge building as its location for several years. The lodge building was used as a training location for the first employees of the former K-Bar Plant. In the 1800’s the lodge provided space for the post office in Dawsonville.
The Lodge charters a Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack and annually supports the Higher Education Program of the Grand Lodge, KARE for Kids Inc, and the Masonic Home Endowment Home.
Lodge members also help to put the veteran memorial markers up for Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day, as well as put flags around the courthouse three times a year.
“We’ve always tried to do what needs to be done in this community,” said Sexton.
“Hopefully we’ll do even more in the next 150 years.”