Some mysteries of Freemasons lodge revealed

The Gazette, Maryland/August 10, 2006

My walks with Willy (my dog) often take me up to the end of Fair Street, past a large white two-story building that never fails to convey a sense of mystery. The windows are painted over so you can’t see inside, and I never see anyone go in it or come out of it. Only the sign and the mowed lawn give evidence that the building is not a vacant warehouse.

In fact, as the sign announces, the building is called Solomon’s Lodge No.121 and is home to a local chapter of Freemasons. They have just mounted a brand new Web site with information about the Lodge and its members, at Here, I was able to solve some of the mystery.

Solomon’s Lodge has been in existence for 140 years, and some of its members have belonged for over 50 years. Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternities in the world. Freemasonry started in the Middle Ages, with the craftsmen who built the beautiful cathedrals, abbeys and castles of medieval Europe. The stonemasons who created these awe-inspiring structures formed craft guilds to protect the secrets of their building trade and to pass on their knowledge to worthy and deserving apprentices.

As time passed, and the trade of masonry declined, the principles and the fellowship of the Freemasons continued to attract men from other professions, men of learning, integrity and goodwill. In 1717, the mason leaders created a formal organization in England, which quickly came to the American colonies. Many of our Founding Fathers — including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere — were Freemasons and freemasonry played important roles in the Constitution Convention and in the debates surrounding the ratification of the Bill of Rights.

Masonry teaches that each person has a responsibility to make things better in the world. It encourages good citizenship and political expression and it engages in numerous charitable activities. Masonry has large projects like children’s hospitals and burn institutes and childhood language disorders clinics with a range of small services for the disadvantaged in the community.

Although there is a secretive air about Solomon’s Lodge No. 121, the Web site claims that their membership and their meetings are on public record. Nevertheless, they like to preserve an air of mystery around their ceremonies to lend them dignity and they use secret signs and handgrips to solidify their sense of fraternity. But they say that if you want to become a Mason, all you need to do is ask.

Well, you must also be male. If you are a female, you can join the related organizations, the Order of the Eastern Star, Job’s Daughters (for young women) or Rainbow Girls. Young men can join DeMolay.

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