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Salado Masonic Lodge 296

Salado Masonic Lodge 296


Community Organizations



Salado Lodge #296 Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons

Chartered June 13, 1867

Photo above is of the original Lodge building, which the Masons shared for almost 100 years with the First Baptist Church of Salado. The church met downstairs and the Lodge met upstairs.

    Much of the history of Salado is linked to Salado Masonic Lodge #296. Many of the men who founded Salado were Masons. 

    Salado Masonic Lodge marked its 150th anniversary in June 2017.

    The following history of the lodge is taken from the lodge’s program during its Century Celebration in 1967.

by the late Charlton E. Johnson

Past Master-Historian

    The petitioners for Dispensation and Charter were: E. Sterling C. Robertson, Harvey Smith, W.A. Davis, O.T. Tyler, A. Rowland, Robert B. Halley, Jno. A. Tyler, F. A. Bigelow, N.R. Land, H.J. Chamberlain, W.R. Karnes, G.W. Wade, M.W. Adams, Jno T. Flint, Geo. W. McWhirter, Welborn Barton, Jas. Tinnin, A. Tinnin, and Jesse Raborn.

    The Minutes of Salado Lodge were destroyed in a fire about 1883 and we are deprived of that source of information as to the early activities of the Lodge, after Dispensation.

    We may safely assume, however, that education was one of the principal objectives of the Lodge and a matter stressed in its discussions and proceedings.

    Thirty-three percent of the teachers and seventy-seven percent of the Trustees of the College were Masons. The founders (of the College), most of whom have been found to be Masons, also made provision in the Deeds of purchase of lots to prohibit the sale of intoxicating beverages by the drink in Salado.

    “It seems,” writes Mrs. Felda Shanklin, Salado historian, “that most all of those early Salado men were Masons.”

    The Charter for Salado Masonic Lodge was granted by the Grand Lodge of Texas on June 13, A.D. 1867, and was signed by Grand Master John R. Freitwell.

    The first Grand Lodge Report of Salado Lodge after the granting of a Charter shows the following officers: E.S.C. Robertson, W.M.; Harvey Smith, S.W.; W.A. Davis, J.W.; O.T. Tyler, Treas.; W. Barton, Sec.; J.W. Tinnin, S.D.; I. Raborn, J.D.; R.B. Halley, Tiler. This report also shows a membership of twenty-two M.M. by affiliation, one Fellowcraft, five Enter Apprentices, and one Past Master.

    On the back of a Grand Lodge, Report U. D., there is this notation: “The Lodge Room of Salado Lodge is the second story of a stone building twenty by forty feet.” These figures are the same dimensions as those of one wing of the Salado College building and there seems to be no doubt that the College and the Lodge were using the same building in those early days - an arrangement that is not surprising, since both had similar objectives and both had the same man, E. Sterling Robertson, as their highest official.

    Later, Salado Lodge secured an interest in the title to the upper story of the Baptist Church in Salado, and for many years met in a Lodge room on the second floor of the church building. In a church rebuilding and enlargement program, the question came up as to how to dispose of the interest of the Lodge in the old building. This problem was solved by literally sawing off the upper half of the building and moving it to, and setting it up as a Lodge room a short distance away on some land donated to the Lodge by Bro. Charlton E. Johnson, Past Master of Salado Masonic Lodge.

    There are four Masons who have been shown to be most influential and effective in the founding and maintaining of Salado College and Thomas Arnold High School. It is a most remarkable fact that all of these leaders in the educational field were contemporaries, and it is also a remarkable fact that a town so small as Salado and a Lodge so limited in membership that Salado Masonic Lodge could have nurtured four men whose great work in life was the advancement of education. It would be difficult to find a parallel in Texas.

    Col. E. Sterling C. Robertson, leader and pioneer, who had a vision of a great school in the midst of a wilderness and who gave unreservedly of his time, his splendd talents and his money to make that vision a reality, and without whom there might never have been any Salado College, Masonic Lodge or town of Salado Springs; Major A. J. Rose, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas, champion of education in general, with special emphasis upon the practical phase of education; Geo. W. Tyler, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas, advocate of, and tireless worker in, all fields of education, general and Masonic; and Dr. S. J. Jones, Ph.D., M.A., who brought to Thomas Arnold High School a polish, a luster and fame not surpassed in its day by any educational institution in Texas. 

    Past Grand Master Rose and Past Grand Master Tyler were both members of the Salado Lodge No. 296 at the time they were elevated to the high office, Bro. Rose in 1886 and Bro. Tyler in 1891. Bro. Tyler and Bro. Jones were each raised a Master Mason in Salado Lodge No. 296.

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