THE HISTORY OF ESTES PARK LODGE #183 A.F. & A.M.
The forces of destiny may be considered when a comparison of Masonic dates are brought to mind. The first meeting of Masons, in what is now Denver, was held on November 3, 1858; the first meeting of Estes Park Lodge, was held on October 20, 1958. One hundred years, a centennial marked from the steps of pioneers to the flight of man in space.
The first dispensation for the Lodge was to Auraria Lodge, on August 15, 1859; a century later, February 2, 1959, Estes Park Lodge #183 A.F. & A. M. was constituted.
Some of the early settlers in the Estes Park region were Masons. They were indeed fortunate if they could attend a lodge meeting while in Loveland, Longmont, Ft. Collins, Berthoud or Denver and it was occasionally a part of their schedule to make travel destinations coincide with lodge meetings in other urban areas.
There are no known records of Masonic meetings in Estes Park previous to 1930, but there was existing camaraderie between Masons when several would happen to meet at George Church’s Shoe & Harness Shop or the Griffith Lumber Yard. The Rev. Albin Griffith frequently greeted other Masons with words of Masonic recognition during business transactions.
Years passed and local Masons frequently discussed the possibility of forming a Masonic Lodge in Estes Park; several informal meetings brought forth service letters from the Grand Lodge of Colorado as to the procedures necessary in the forming of a new lodge. There was considerable spirited discussion whether a High Twelve Club might be a more reasonable and functional organization than a Masonic Lodge.
Correspondence between Cole C. Tremmel, John Trimble, F.E. Fields, Frank D. Allen, William R. Arthur, Charles A. Mantz, Grand Master and Harry W. Bundy, Grand Secretary during the spring and summer of 1955 set the stage for several meetings in Estes Park with officers of the Grand Lodge of Colorado and those interested in discussing the pros and cons of forming a lodge in Estes Park.
A meeting was called on November 25, 1957 for all Masons in the immediate vicinity of Estes Park to discuss the possibility of forming a Masonic Lodge, the meeting to be held in the Mcafee Auditorium of the Community Church of the Rockies. This meeting, initiated by William J. Finlay, was the step needed to get positive action. A petition dated November 25, 1957.
The First Regular Communication of Estes Park Lodge #183, was held on October 20, 1958, in the spacious Pro Shop of Estes Park Golf and Country Club Building located at 1080 St. Vrain Ave. for approximately three years.
The forces of destiny joined company in 1960 when Rocky Mountain National Park began condemnation proceedings to obtain possession of Deer Ridge Enterprises and the need of Estes Park Lodge #183 to proceed with plan to build, or otherwise obtain, a lodge building of their own.
The Members of the Masonic fundation turned their thoughts towards joining together the existing, large portions of the Deer Ridge buildings into one composite structure. With this in mine, precise measurements were taken, preliminary sketches prepared and, with further verbal suggestions, this information was given to Muchow & Associates, a Denver architectural firm, who prepared working drawings for an assembled building.
The Summer and Fall months of 1960 the building construction started at the current location. The cornerstone laying ceremony by Grand Lodge of Colorado on September 23, 1961. On May 21, 1962, the five separate structures of the building coming from Deer Ridge in Rocky Mountain National Park, were on the foundation. The Dedication Ceremonies were on September 16, 1963.
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They embody the understanding by which man can transcend ordinary experience and build a “house not made with hands” in harmony with The Great Architect of the Universe. Yet Freemasonry can never conflict with a man’s relationship to God or fellow man. Every Mason stands equal among his brothers, regardless of walk of life. The purpose of the Ancient Craft of Freemasonry is to unfold a message where “Truth abides in fullness” invoking greater understanding of the inward life and a spirit of fellowship in which every Mason can also lead a better outward life.
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