St. John's Masonic Lodge No. 5 traces its history to 1838 when a warrant of dispensation was granted by the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. The first worshipful master, Daniel T. Fitchett, was installed by Anson Jones, the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons of the Republic of Texas. The lodge met in a private home until 1842 when meetings ceased. The charter was revoked in 1845, but was reissued by the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1848. Many well known Texas patriots and leaders were involved in the early organization of the lodge. A two-story lodge building was erected in East Columbia in 1852. The first floor was used for Sunday School classes and as a public school, and the second floor housed lodge meetings. The oil boom of 1918 in West Columbia resulted in unprecedented growth in the area. The lodge moved from East Columbia and built a new structure in 1922 that served the organization until 1970, when a building was completed on West Jackson Street. The members maintain a strong tradition of supporting education and civic outreach programs and have served the area for more than 150 years. (1997)
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