In The Beginning:
The Grand Lodge of Texas Ancient Free and Accepted Masons was established in the City of Houston, Texas on December 20, 1837. The first lodge was Holland Lodge No. 1, presently located at 4911 Montrose, Houston, Texas 77006, and was initially charted by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. Solomon Lodge #484 was a Full Moon Lodge in the beginning, meeting the Saturday on or before each full moon.
Solomon Lodge No. 484 was Chartered in Taylorville,(The name Taylorville was changed to Taylor on December 20, 1892), Williamson County, Texas on December 14, 1878. The Worshipful Master was Daniel Moody, the Senior Warden was JA Dalton and the Junior Warden was JW Simmons.
The Grand Lodge Officers were:
Deputy Grand Master
Grand Senior Warden
Grand Junior Warden
We have also located the original Charter of Solomon Lodge #484. The original Charter has been damaged by fire and termites.
Figure #1 Original Charter
Figure #2 Current Charter
The above is the replacement for the original charter.
History has it that Brother Daniel Moody, who was the first Master of Solomon Lodge #484, traveled to The Masonic Grand Lodge in Galveston, Texas by mule to receive the documents to open Solomon Lodge #484. Brother Moody’s home at 114 W. 9th Street, Taylor, Texas was completed in 1887. His son, Dan J. Moody (1893-1966), also a member of Solomon Lodge #484, was born in this home. Dan J. Moody, the son, was the Governor of Texas from January 17, 1927 to January 20, 1931. The home of the Moody’s is now a museum and is open on Sunday’s from 3-5.
We have found some of the minutes from 1892-1910 meetings of Solomon Lodge #484. During this time there was a lot of activity bringing in new Masons and raising them to the degree of Master Mason. Some of the minutes show that there were several degrees conferred on the same day. They also indicate that Solomon Lodge gave help and assistance to Brother Masons for medical expenses, hospital expenses, funeral and business expenses.
Locations of Solomon Lodge:
Prior to May 1894 Solomon Lodge #484 was located in a “Hall”. The minutes that we have do not give an exact address.
Solomon Lodge #484 Located in the Taylor National Bank Building:
May 1894 Solomon Lodge was relocated to the 3rd floor of the Taylor Nation Bank Building, at the corner of Broad & Main Streets.
Figure #3 Picture of the Former Taylor National Bank
Solomon Lodge #484 Located in the Taylor Daily Press Building:
Solomon Lodge #484 was located above the Taylor Daily Press located at 110 ½ East Third Street.
They also had a lot that was sold to the St. Paul Lutheran Church 11/8/62. This was lot 2, block 48.
Figure #4 Taylor Daily Press Building
Grand Master George Moffett, also a State Senator, visited Solomon Lodge #484 in 1955 to present the Fifty Year Award to W.E. Branton. This is the first known visit of the Grand Master to Solomon Lodge. Brother Si W. Bingham was the Worshipful Master of Solomon Lodge #484.
Figure #6 Picture of the Fifty Year award.
Solomon Lodge #484 Located in the Don Theater Building:
The location prior to the present location was the Don Theater located at 117 East 2nd Street. The Don Theater was purchased 4/25/63.
On September 17, 1964 the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas was opened for the purpose of dedicating the new Masonic Temple of Solomon Lodge #484.
Lodge Officers Present:
David R. Sapp
Figure #5 Don Theater – TE photo
There had been a fire in the Don Theater and when they were cleaning out the building they found that termites had gotten in to the room that had been the projection room and many of the items had been destroyed by the fire as well as the termites.
The Don Theater building, which was then owned by Solomon Lodge #484, was sold around 5/8/80. Solomon Lodge #484 met in the Granger Lodge #667, in Granger Texas, from 2/14/80 to 12/3/80, while the present building was being built.
The seats that are in the present Lodge room are from the Don Theater.
Present Lodge of Solomon #484:
Figure #7 Present lodge building
Figure #8 Ground breaking of Solomon Lodge #484
Figure #9 Present Corner Stone
The above picture is the corner stone for the present location of Solomon Lodge #484 located at Mallard Lane and Donna Drive. The cornerstone was donated by Brother Ray Condra. A green backpack was passed around at the laying of the cornerstone. Money and other articles were placed in the backpack and the backpack was placed behind the cornerstone.
Post Oak Island Lodge #181 on October 22, 1980 conducted the meeting for laying the Cornerstone for Solomon Lodge #484. The Most Worshipful Grand Master of Texas, Brother Sam Hilburn, laid the cornerstone.
The first Lodge meeting held at this location was December 12, 1980. Brother Lester Jacobson, a building contractor in Taylor, built the new lodge building for cost plus one dollar. The brick wall in the dining room was donated by various Brothers, Sisters and friends of the lodge. The bricks have a label with the names of the donors. At the time of the first meeting in the new lodge the building was paid for.
The following article was written by David Sharpe in the Taylor Newspaper about the dedication of the new Lodge Building:
Ceremony Dedicates New Lodge
The public had a rare opportunity to witness a Masonic Ceremony a couple of weeks ago, an event that usually is held private.
On Thursday, May 28, The Masons here dedicated their new Solomon Lodge 484 located at the corner of Donna and Mallard Streets.
Presiding over the event was the Grand Master of Texas Masons, Tom Land of Ft. Worth.
Departing from the past, the event was opened to the public to dispel the commonly held notion that Masons are strictly secret society and at the same time make the public better acquainted with Masons and their activities.
“People have the misconception that Masons are a secret society. Actually, the mason have so few secrets it’s pathetic,” Arvol Willingham, The Right Worshipful Grand Marshal from Houston, said.
The ceremony, which lasted about 30 minutes, was partially religious and symbolic.
It began with the Chaplain kneeling at an altar giving a prayer.
THEN OVER A dozen Masons present gathered in the middle of the lodge’s inner sanctum and circled the altar and a replica of the Lodge three times, all kneeling at intervals.
“The circling was symbolic of the travels of humans through the different phases of life, youth, middle age and old age,” Willingham said.
The circling then stopped and the Grand Master poured first corn, then wine and finally oil on the lodge replica.
“The corn stands for the corn of nourishment, wine for refreshment and oil for joy. It is the hope of the lodge has all these things,” Willingham explained.
THROUGHOUT THE ceremony verses were read and at the end a speech was given dedicating the lodge.
Masons today are a little different than Masons of the past. Willingham said.
In the past Masons were a group limited to bricklayers. Now The organization is open to men from a variety of professions, he said.
However, one element that has remained constant is the emphasize is on character building. Willingham stressed that Masons Are not a religion, though religion is a factor for participation.
“The emphasis is building one’s life, to build it right in order to withstand the ravages inherent in life,” Willingham said.
Figure #10 Pictures from the Dedication
The Granger Lodge #677 of Granger, Texas merged with Solomon Lodge #484 on November 2, 1991. The Granger Lodge went into darkness at that time. The Granger Lodge building located at 318 Main Street, Granger Texas was sold approximately 3/1/92.
In 2000 the Grand Master W. Vernon Burke, Jr was at Solomon Lodge #484 to lay the Cornerstone for the School building in Granger.
In 2002 The Grand Master Michael D. Nanny presented the Fifty Year Award to J. Nobel Atkins.
In 2003 Brother Richard McNabb, while renovating the Altar and pedestals found a package that had been placed in the Altar on May 7, 1981. This package contained magazines from that time, and a list of the members of Solomon Lodge #484. A letter from Brother Frederick Roose who was the Worshipful Master, a copy of the list of Masons present at the opening of the new lodge, and a list of the past masters were also found. There was also a note that showed the Altar had been restored September 9, 1940. All this information plus updates from the present time will be placed back into the Altar for future Masons to have.
December 14, 2003 is the 125th anniversary of Solomon Lodge #484, Taylor, Texas. This document commemorates the anniversary, the history of Solomon Lodge #484 and the history of Masonry. Due to a fire we are unable to give a complete history of Solomon Lodge #484. We will give as much history as possible.
The officers for the year 2003-2004 are the following:
Frank R. Hadden
Doyle E Hobbs, Jr
|Master of Ceremonies|
FOR A CHILD’S SMILE – MASONIC SANTA
The Brothers of Solomon Lodge No. 484 of Taylor wanted to do more, be more involved in their community. It was brought to their attention by one of the Brothers that a local church, Brushy Creek Baptist Church, was assisting families at Christmas with food, clothing and toys. Once they saw how great the need was, an idea was born. Why not focus on the children? Working with the church, a list of children of the families the church was assisting was gathered and on that list were the “wishes” of the children. But how were they going to get the gifts to the children? The idea of “Masonic Santa” was born. The Lodge was able to allot $500 to buy these “wishes”. They gathered, with their wives and members of the Eastern Star, Chapter 578, at the local Wal-Mart and went shopping. That’s how it all began. It started with 62 children in 2004. In 2006 the children numbered 93 with $1600 made available from the Lodge, various organizations and individuals for the gifts.
The children and parents are invited to come to the Lodge where they are greeted by Grandma Christmas. She takes them into the Lodge room where Masonic Santa, in all his blue and white glory, is seated in the East. He is surrounded by Christmas trees and presents specifically named for each child. They climb up on his knee for a visit, have their picture taken and receive their gifts. They return to the social room where they can have hot dogs, cookies and a drink and wait for their picture to be delivered to them. They are provided with crafts for ornament making or decorating their Santa hats.
The children may have received the gifts, but the greater gift is actually received by the Masons and those involved with creating this day. The feeling is indescribable in seeing the joy and happiness brought to these children. The children and their parents are introduced to Masonry and exposes just one of the charitable activities of Masonry to the community.
Solomon Lodge sees no end to this joyous event and wanted to share this idea with other Lodges in Texas.
Masons and Public Schools:
The first free Public School system in Texas was established in 1854 by Governor Peace (a Mason). In 1854 there were 14 public school systems supported by the Masons. Masonry’s contribution to public education in Texas was summed up in a statement by Dr. Frederick Eby, Texas historian and Professor Emeritus of the University of Texas, who was not a Mason: “Education in Texas is indebted to the courageous assistance of the Masonic Brotherhood for their labors in the establishment of the Public School system —”. At this time Solomon Lodge #484 gives scholarships to deserving High School students in Taylor and Granger. They also give scholarships to family members of Solomon Lodge. Solomon Lodge #484 also participates in the Public Schools Week.
Masonic Lodges sometimes brought the first school and church facilities to a community.
Student Scholarships given by Solomon Lodge #484:
The Student Scholarships is named Howard Oliphint Memorial Scholarship after Brother Howard Oliphint, who was a Past Master of Solomon Lodge #484. Some of the recipients are:
2003 Suzanna Ottiz
2002 Valerie Schier
2001 Joel Nieme
2000 Stephen Hawkins
1998 Dawn Ponkoney
1997 Amanda Stafford
1996 Mike Laurence
1995 Danny Ortiz
1991 Heath Talley
1990 Irene Ruiz
Texas Masons support the following Philanthropies:
Eastern Star Training Award for Religious Leadership
Grotto Dentistry and Cerebral Palsy
Knight Templar Education Foundation
Knight Templar Eye Foundation
Masonic Home and School
Scottish Rite Dormitory
Scottish Rite Childhood Languages Disorders
Scottish Rite Dyslexia
Scottish Rite Hospital – Neurology
Scottish Rite Orthopedic Hospital
Shrine Burn Center
Shrine Orthopedic center
Texas Masonic Retirement Center
The Texas Knight Templar Education Foundation
The following are some of the awards that Solomon Lodge #484 has received:
Grand Lodge of Texas Award of Merit for Fall 1967.
The Taylor Conservation and Heritage Society Recognized Solomon Lodge #484
For Distinguished Service and Dedication to the goals of Historic Preservation in Taylor for the year 1980.
Solomon Lodge #484 received the Award of Excellence for the years:
Solomon Lodge #484 received 1st place in the Master’s, Wardens and Secretaries Association Ritual Competition March 16, 2002.
Awards Given By Solomon Lodge #484:
Golden Trowel Award:
* Since its inception the Golden Trowel Award continues to be an exciting means for Lodges to recognize and honor distinguished members with an official award from the Grand Lodge of Texas. It is for use by all Texas Lodges.
* The Golden Trowel is the Lodge’s formal recognition of a Brother for his devoted service to Masonic principles in general or to his Lodge. It is intended for the Brother who, year after year, quietly, but actively demonstrates his devotion to the teachings of Masonry without thought of recognition or special honors.
The following Brothers of Solomon Lodge #484 have received this award:
2002 Robert Schier
2000 Doyle Hobbs
1999 Bob Bryan
1998 Fred Roose
1994 Coburn Brummett
1992 A.O. Schier
1972 Howard Oliphint
1954 Fred Worley
Community Builder Award:
The Community Builder Award
Adopted January 1991
The COMMUNITY BUILDER AWARD has been designed to enable a Lodge to formally recognize outstanding non-Masons who have distinguished themselves through their service to the community, to the local, state or national government, to their Church or Synagogue, or to humanity. Thus, the award will be made available to be presented to individuals who, although they have never been initiated into Masonry, have followed the same precepts, ideals and standards that have been established for Masonic behavior.
2001 Herbert and Alma Konze
In December 1838, Mirabeau B. Lamar, a Mason, became president of the Republic of Texas and distinguished himself as the “Father of Texas Education” for his support of a public school system. In his first address to the Congress, he pleaded for the creation of a public school system in Texas. He declared, “If we desire to establish a republican government upon a broad and permanent basis, it will become our duty to adopt a comprehensive and well regulated system of mental and moral culture.” He proposed the set aside of public lands for the creation of a permanent endowment to support public education. His educational views met with the approval of Congress and provisions were made for public education.
1993 Dee Hobbs
1984 To Brother Lester Jacobson by DDGM J.D. Hawkins
1981 Brother Fred Rouse presented to Brother Lester Jacobson a letter expressing: “The gratitude of the Brethren for his endeavor in the construction of our new Lodge. With the letter was a check for One Dollar in payment of his services.”
Cornerstones laid by Solomon Lodge #484:
9/23/1999 Granger School
9/21/1998 Granger – City of Granger building
9/02/1902 C.P. Church of Taylor.
Order of the Eastern Star:
The minutes of Solomon Lodge #484 indicated that there were several attempts made to start a Chapter of the eastern Star. On the 6/11/1901 The Order of Easter Star organized and were tendered the lodge room for free in the First National Bank location. On May 12, 1908, Mrs. Laung Jones partition to organizing a Chapter of The Order of the Eastern Star.
The Charter that is in the present lodge hall for the Taylor Chapter #578 under the seal of
The Texas Grand Chapter is dated 10/14/1914.