The History of the Rockford Masonic Lodge #246 and its Members
Just 29 years after the founding of Rockford, a Masonic Lodge was organized.
On January 10, 1868, Rockford Lodge No. 246 F. & A. M., was chartered by Grand Master, S. C. Coffinbury, with the following fifteen members: Jas. Dockeray, Oscar House, Ebin Close, John B. Collins, H. N. Stinson, R. D. Stocum, Jacob Snyder, Philip Becker, F. C. Stegman, Robert Squires, G. C. McConnell, P. Fitzpatrick, Wm. Powell, Thos. N. Barker and Wm. Johnson. William Powell was the first Master.
The first meetings were held in a hall above Neal McMillan's Drug Store and Jackson Coon's Shoe Store.
At a regular meeting on April 10, 1884, the building committee reported that Brother G.A. Sage was building a new one story building a new one story store, and was ready to give the lodge a ninety-nine year lease, if they would build an upper story, suitable for a lodge room, he would also include room for stars and convenience at the backend of the lower story. The expense for building and furnishing the upper story was estimated not to exceed one thousand dollars. The report was accepted as six hundred dollars had been already subscribed.
Dedication of the new Masonic Lodge was held Wednesday, March 11, 1885, with a large number of brother masons from Grand Rapids, Sparta, Cedar Springs, and other towns, many of them accompanied by their ladies. The dedication exercise took place at the lodge, after which General Wm. P. Innes, Grand Lodge Secretary, gave an address to the group. S.A. Betts furnished a banquet at his hotel that did justice to the occasion. Upwards of seventy couples joined in the dance at Colby’s Hall with Squires band furnishing the music.
The July 30, 1902 issue of the Rockford Register noted, the Masonic Organization have completed rejuvenating the former G.A. R. hall which they had recently purchased, and the interior is greatly improved with fresh paint and wall coverings, and made into a handsome banquet room.
According to the Rockford Register on November 3, 1902, the members of the Masonic Fraternity congregated for the purpose of dedicating the local hall which was remodeled on the interior to the extent that it is said to be one of the best in this part of the state.
Many from outside towns as well as Grand Lodge Officers were present and the program which was rendered out did all previous events of this nature.
The banquet was prepared and served by members of the Eastern Star, and only those who are acquainted with the splendid suppers which the ladies prepare can appreciate what was served in the way of “eats”.
During the Masonic Year of 1902 Rockford Lodge was honored by having Past Master Neal McMillan serve as Grand Master of Masons of the State of Michigan.
At a regular meeting on June 4th, 1964, a motion was made to form a Temple Association for the purpose of construction of a new lodge building. This motion passed.
In October of 1965, Mrs. Townsend donated the land for the new Lodge.
Construction progressed over the next several years, with the Lodge members donating most of the labor and materials.
On July 22, 1978, the new Lodge building, located at 1430 Northland Drive, Rockford Michigan was dedicated by the Grand Master Lodge Officers lead by Holm A. Swenson, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Michigan.