Gardner Masonic Lodge Charter Members
Members of Gardner Masonic Lodge first started meeting the day after receiving special dispensation letters from the Grand Lodge of Kansas on Feb. 17th, 1868. At the time of their formation, there were nine members present (Brothers Emanuel Clark, Dr. W. Shean, J. Bruner, J. Clapp, W. McCoy, B. Wiltse, T. Marshall, R. LaMasters, and J. Doors). Starting out without their own building the founding Brother’s originally met in the local Odd Fellows Hall (IOOF Lodge No. 23 in Gardner). The location of this hall remains unknown.
At the stated meeting on Sept. 12th, 1868 Bro. Emanuel Clark was requested to carry a petition to the Grand Lodge of Kansas praying to receive a lodge charter. It was received and the date on the charter reads October 21st, 1868. Brother Clark presented the lodge with a bill in the amount of $29.95 which included the cost of the charter, his transportation, and lodging connected with his trip. June 13th , 1889 after renting meeting space for so long from the Odd Fellows, Gardner Lodge voted to buy land and build a hall of their own. For the sum of $500 four lots were purchased in the current location of the lodge today. This land was purchased from Bro. S. Wilson. The lodge sold shares of stock to fund the building of a lodge. The original building was a 2 story wood built structure. Similar to our current building the Lodge was located on the upper floor and store space was allotted on the ground floor.
Devastation came to the lodge on the December 10th, 1906. A fire started in the connected store space which ended up destroying the entire building causing an estimated total loss of $15,000, which in 1906 held a much greater value. Not much over half of this amount was covered by insurance. The lodge records were all that were able to be saved from the Lodges portion of the burning building. Everything else was completely lost. The Gardner Gazette reported of the Masons plans to rebuild, in their publication on Oct. 25th, 1907. The Modern building design for the time was greatly admired and appreciated by the town of Gardner.
Today the Gardner Masonic Temple still stands strong in the same location as an honorable landmark to the City of Gardner, Ks. The ground floor of the building is now occupied by a very popular local coffee house which has
made great use of our historic building. Over the past several years Palestine Lodge No. 127 of Edgerton, Ks and most recently Wellsville Lodge have both merged with Gardner Lodge bringing along their history and honorable Brethren.
Quickly approaching October 21st, 2018 will make the 150-year celebration of Gardner Lodge receiving the official Charter from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Kansas. We invite all with open arms to mark this even in your calendar to attend this wonderful celebration with us.