Tucson Lodge #4, F&AM
Tucson's First Masonic Lodge

Short Historic Perspective on Freemasonry

Through its heritage in antiquity is unmistakable, modern speculative Freemasonry was founded more recently upon the structure, ceremonies, and symbolism of the lodges of operative or working freemen stonemasons, who built the magnificent Medieval Gothic structures throughout much of Europe and England.

Dated in 1390 A.D., the Regius Poem details the charter of a lodge operating in the 900s A.D. (See modern translation of Regius Poem) "Masonry" then meant architecture and encompassed most of the arts and sciences. Because lodges held knowledge as competitive secrets, only trusted, capable companions were instructed in the craft - and then only by degrees, orally and through symbols, because of widespread illiteracy.

In the late Renaissance, lodges of freemason began to accept as speculative masons those educated men who were attracted by the elegance of Masonic traditions for their philosophic expression. In time they were passed through the inner circles.

Thus, the framers of speculative Freemasonry began to describe a code of conduct through the symbolic nature of architecture and the stonemason's craft. Signaling modern speculative Freemasonry, the first Grand Lodge was chartered in 1717 in England. Constituent Symbolic Blue Lodges were soon established throughout the world.

The first Lodge in the Colonies was chartered in Boston in 1733, and the first Masonic Lodge communication was held in the Ohio Territory at Marietta in 1790.  Masonry spread rapidly as America expanded west.  Our Nation's Founding Fathers included many Mason's - men such as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Paul Revere, Joseph Warren, and John Hancock. There were 13 Mason signers of the Constitution.  Masons and Masonry played an important part in the Revolutionary war and an even more important part in the Constitutional Convention and the debates surrounding ratification of the Bill of rights.  Many of these debates were held in Masonic Lodges.