A Brief History of Weston Lodge #22
Weston Lodge had its inception back in the early days of the community of Littleton. This area south of Denver was particularly fertile, and by 1867 a flour mill was erected at what is now the northwest corner of Santa Fe and Bowles Ave. Among others, the men who built that mill were John G. Lilley and Richard A. Little, for whom the town of Littleton was named.
By the early 1870's the community of Littleton was growing. The few Masons who had come from several parts of the country soon learned who their Brethren were. Even without an organized Lodge they were bound to each other by the ties of the Masonic Fraternity.
A dozen, or so, masons from the area decided they were sufficient in numbers to start a Masonic Lodge. They petitioned the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Colorado for a dispensation and a dispensation was granted on March 1st, 1872. The Lodge was named Weston Lodge #22 (This was four years before Colorado became a State, on July 4, 1876).
The Lodge was named for Allyn Weston, who was born in 1825 in Massachusetts. After graduating, first from Harvard, and then from the law school at Cambridge, he practiced law in Massachusetts for a short time before moving to Detroit.
It was in Detroit that he received his Masonic Degrees in 1855.
In 1860 he moved to Central City, Colorado, where he resumed his practice of law.
On December 12, 1861, at the first annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Colorado Allyn Weston was appointed Grand Lecturer. After serving as Grand Lecturer he was elected Grand Master in 1862.
He probably knew no other Masonic work than that of Michigan. The Michigan work was that of the famous Baltimore Convention of 1843, which had used the Barney work of 1818 as its standard. It was only natural, therefore, that upon his appointment as Grand Lecturer he should at once proceed to install Michigan work in Colorado. The work used in the early days was known as the "Allyn Weston Work."
It is no exaggeration to say the he had great influence on the Masonic organization, and. the general character of Masonry in Colorado.
He firmly believed in the tenets of the Craft, in the maintenance of strict order and was devoted to the great principals that underlie the Masonic Institution. During his term as Grand Master he impressed himself upon the lodges in Colorado, as perhaps no other has since.
At Central City he was appointed District Attorney for the Territory of Colorado. He became a prominent figure in public affairs, on the side of the Union, during the fierce struggles of the Civil War.
The first Master of Weston Lodge #22 was Joseph W. Bowles (for whom Bowles Avenue is named).
Another prominent member of the Lodge was Lewis B. Ames (for whom Ames Street is named) and he served as Master for four years, 1879 through 1882. He deeded land to Weston Lodge for the Masonic Cemetery in 1875. In 1888 this property was transferred to the Littleton Cemetery Association.
Henry H. Curtice (for whom Curtice Street is named) was also a charter member and Master of the Lodge.
The second petition received was for Charles Rapp (for whom Rapp Avenue is named).
On April 8, 1872 the first "Regular" communication of Weston Lodge was held in the building just across the alley from the present Temple. The building was known as the J.D. Hill Building and housed the first general store in Littleton. It still stands where South Rapp Street intersects with Bowles Avenue.
In 1872 the store handled drugs, dry goods, shoes, harnesses, hardware, hay, grain and coal, which surpasses in variety today's Super Markets.
The upstairs of the building was the "Masonic Hall" which was also the site of the city council meetings. The Lodge leased the upstairs for $160 a year. It appears that they sublet the facility out to he Methodists, the Catholics and the Christian Scientists. The Odd Fellows Lodge also met there for a time.
At the stated meeting of the Lodge held on June 7, 1890 it was decided that following a fire at the Rough and Ready Flour Mill, there was a need of a fire department. A committee was formed to investigate what manpower and equipment was available. On July 19, 1890, a hook and ladder company to become known as the John G. Lilly Hook and Ladder Company of Littleton was organized with twenty volunteers, who were mostly Lodge members.
On December 19, 1891 the Company
bought 500 feet of 1 1/2 inch fire hose, four spanner wrenches and a nozzle. On December 26 of that year they bought a hose cart and one hose pipe long nozzle for $140, thus causing the organization to become a "hose company". On January 19, 1892 it became known as Littleton Hose Company No. 1. A charter and by-laws were drawn up making it a full time volunteer fire department no longer dependent upon the Lodge. Many of the ex-chiefs were members of the Lodge.
The desire for a temple of their own was first mentioned in the minutes of July 18, 1914. $1040 of the Lodge funds were set aside as a Building Fund and were not to be used for any other purpose. Plans for the erection of a new Temple stared in earnest on October 16, 1920.
At this meeting Brother I.W. Hunt, (who became Master of the Lodge in 1927, and who was widely respected as a Ford Dealer), donated the building site for the new Temple. Offerings were received for labor, painting, decorations, and electrical materials at cost, and the sum of $2,427.76 in cash was received, On November 20, 1920, a motion was made and passed that $25 of each petitioner's fees would go to the Building Fund. Other organizations and individuals contributed generously to this fund.
The Temple Cornerstone was laid on April 23, 1921 by the M.W.G.L. of Colorado.
Brother Bemis (Editor of the Littleton Independent and for whom Bemis Library is named) placed a copy of the Littleton Independent in the cornerstone. Other items placed in the cornerstone were a Victory Liberty Loan Medal, the history of the Weston Lodge, a list of the officer's names and members of Littleton House Co. No. 2and a fireman's badge. A list of the members and officers of Manzanita Chapter No. 85, Order of Eastern Star are also enclosed in the cornerstone.
Almost fifty years after Weston Lodge's formation, and after several moves to and from various halls in Littleton, Weston Lodge moved into its present Temple just across the alley from its very first meeting place. The first meeting was held in the new Temple on August 20, 1921. The Temple was dedicated on Saturday, November 19, 1921.