Tag Archives: Georgia Fraternal Lodges

Clayton County Courthouse, 1869, Jonesboro

This structure replaced the original Clayton County Courthouse, built on this site in 1860 and burned during the Battle of Jonesboro. It was decommissioned in 1898 and has served as the Jonesboro Lodge No. 87 F & AM ever since.

Jonesboro Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Lithonia Lodge No. 84, F & AM, 1916, DeKalb County

The cornerstone notes that the Lithonia Lodge was chartered on 14 October 1849. Like many Masonic lodges, this structure likely also housed businesses on the first floor.

Lithonia Historic District, National Register of Historic Places & Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area

Lone Star Benevolent Society, 1898, Waynesboro

The property of the Lone Star Benevolent Society in Waynesboro is a bit of a mystery. Previous surveys have identified the large structure (above) as the society hall, but it certainly resembles a church. It’s possible it served both purposes. Lone Star was one of many fraternal organizations aimed at creating a sense of community and a source of burial insurance for black communities from Emancipation well into the early 20th century.

This small building is located beside the larger church-like structure.

Further away from the main building is this structure, which was almost certainly a schoolhouse.

St. Paul Meetinghouse, 1870s, Hancock County

Harrell Lawson’s History of St. Pau CME Church [2005] describes the two-story meetinghouse adjacent to the church as a building previously used as a school for the secular education of the youth of the community and as a meeting place for Masons and a burial society founded by St. Paul members in the early 1900’s.

A resource survey conducted in 2001 dates the structure to circa 1870. It was built in the school/lodge combination common among African-American congregations in this part of Georgia in the late 19th century. These structures inevitably served as de facto community centers, as well. No matter when they were built, they are important resources.

Farmers Supply Company & Akin Lodge No. 537, 1910, Taylorsville

Typical of many commercial blocks built in late-19th- and early-20th-century Georgia, this structure served a dual purpose as a general store and Masonic lodge.

Masonic Lodge, 1918, Midville

Midville Lodge 521 has served as the home to the local Masons for over a century. It is also used as the city hall.

Fraternal Lodge, Tallahassee

The community of Tallahassee is an historic African-American settlement about 5 miles north of Hazlehurst. It likely gets its name from the nearby highway, which was once the Savannah-Tallahassee Road and one of only two roads passing through the county in the early 1870s. This structure, located adjacent to the Tallahassee Missionary Baptist Church, is likely a fraternal lodge.

 

Walthourville International F & AM OES Johnson Lodge No. 37

Donated and built by John Walt, this was the meeting place of the International Free & Accepted Masons and Order of the Eastern Star, known as Johnson Lodge No. 37. It was an African-American lodge. A list of Walthourville’s historic resources in the most recent Liberty County Joint Comprehensive Plan dates it to circa 1845, but I believe this to be an error. If it was originally a white lodge, it could date to the antebellum era, but the style of construction doesn’t support that date. Furthermore, its African-American association precludes that date as such organizations and gathering places for blacks were illegal at the time. My guess is that it was built in the late 1800s. Whatever its history, it’s an important landmark and should be preserved.

Telephone Company Building, Sparks

This was originally built for the local telephone company and housed its offices and switchboard. It has also been home to the Masonic lodge and the Woodmen of the World. I believe it dates to the last decade of the 19th century.

Ferguson Store Sign, DeSoto

The Ferguson Store was located on the ground level of the DeSoto Masonic lodge. It was most recently known as Disco D’s Warehouse, which I assume was a nightclub.