HISTORY OF THE LODGE
The Free and Accepted Masons in Chicago Junction ( now Willard ) date their activities from about 1890. During that year a small number of men, all members of the Masonic order, 19 in number, were attending lodge meetings in Plymouth.
They used whatever means of transportation were available to them, railroad cars, freight trains, horses and buggies, sometimes foot travel, to attend meetings there.
Later, in 1890, they began having informal meetings in a second floor room of a boarding house on Front Street and talked about plans of having a lodge here.
On Monday, November 24, 1890, they hired a team and wagon and hay rack and all drove together to Plymouth to ask the Plymouth Masonic Lodge for permission to form one at Chicago Junction. They failed, not receiving sufficient favorable votes, and they had to go back in January, 1891, to have it reconsidered, this time being successful.
They obtained permission from the Masonic Grand Lodge of Ohio to form a lodge and in May of 1891, Golden Rule Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons was formed here. The charter was issued in October of that year.
The lodge had its meeting rooms on the second floor of the business building owned by H.J. Byrer until the Masonic Temple was built. In later years this was known as the Jackson Drug Store building and eventually became a part of the Willard United Bank building (now Sutton Bank).
The Masonic Temple was not built by the Masons, as such, but by a group of people who, in 1908, had incorporated themselves under the name of the Chicago Junction Temple Company.
Two lots north of the Hotel Sheidley (now Langhurst Insurance Agency) on the east side of Myrtle Avenue were purchased for $4500.00, for use as a site, and various money raising activities were engaged in. In 1909 the families of the Masons held a bazaar in the opera house which netted them $1,363.21.
The structure that was finally built was an ambitious one, four stories in height, with merchantile stores and a theatre occupying the first floor. It had office spaces on the second floor and lodge club rooms above with facilities for the preparation and serving of dinners.
The dedication of the Masonic Temple building on September 16, 1912, was a large community and civic occassion. They had a parade with visiting dignitaries of the lodge and the Chicago Junction Ladie's Imperial Band formed a part of the procession.