Masonic history is both rich and long. Some suggest it extends back to the building of King Solomon’s Temple, but no one is really sure of it’s origins.
The history of our lodge however, is much easier to authenticate. We have our original charter, deed and bill of sale for the property all dating to the year of 1837. The building itself was erected a year later as a rectangular salt box style structure with a door opening onto Masonic Street to its immediate east. It was purposely built as a Masonic lodge from the onset. In 1849, the building was modified with the addition of a new front façade which incorporated the entryway, a bathroom, stairwell, an additional second floor room, the porch, stairs and pillars. The upstairs portion has always been used exclusively as a Masonic Lodge, while the first floor has been utilized as a school, a church and for various local civic functions.
There are several unique features of this house; the simple architecture consisting of wide heart pine lumber, hand hammered door hinges and hardware, unique seating in the lodge recovered from the historic Carolina Theater, and most particularly the “lean” of the building. When the elevation of Masonic Street was lowered and cut into the hill adjacent to the lodge, the building had to be propped up with telephone/telegraph poles to keep it from falling over until the existing retaining wall could be built. To this day the building still has a distinct “lean” to it. Where the full length curtains meet the floor near the interior west side wall, the existing seating masks an almost nine inch discrepancy with respect to being parallel.
Adorning the walls upstairs we also have a collection of antique Masonic aprons of the same style worn by George Washington and his contemporaries. Some are hand embroidered, while others are hand painted. More photos available here.
In 1969, The University of North Carolina completed a study of the building and created blue prints documenting it’s unique architecture. It is available here.
In 1978, Columbus Lodge 102 was officially listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, ensuring it’s place among other United States historic buildings. Anyone who is interested in this building’s unique heritage and wishes to have a tour need only contact us.