Founding of Accacia 51

On March 24, 1865, Grand Master George W. Present granted a dispensation for a lodge in Cottage Grove that empowered Jesse Smith to serve as Worshipful Master, Oliver G. Leonard as Senior Warden and Ruel Parker as Junior Warden. Three days later, on the 27, the first meeting Under Dispensation was held where five petitions were read and committees organized. Throughout the next few weeks, meetings were held to organize the lodge and hold instruction.
A. L. Holman was the first to be raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in the lodge on May 8, 1865 and was immediately elected Secretary. Among the first bills authorized to be paid were $3.00 for spitoons, $3.00 for a Call Bell, 25¢ for tin reflectors for lamps, 60¢ for three curtains and $25 for a Master’s carpet. Furbers’ Grain House was contracted as the first home of the lodge (1865 to 1890) for the amount of $50 per year. Officer jewels were purchased for $80.
Accacia was legally Constituted on November 3, 1865 when the Grand Master, Grand Secretary and Grand Marshall were in attendance to install the officers and present the lodge its charter. Proposed bylaws were read, adopted and ordered printed on Christmas Day, 1865.
July 18, 1866 brought the lodge’s first Masonic picnic — and still annually conducted each summer.
The building that Accacia Lodge No. 51 calls home has quite a history behind it. Early settlers and pioneers to the area had no place to worship so they held services in their own homes bringing in nearby clergymen to lead. Notably, one of the first was the famous Rev. William F. Boutwell. After decades of doing this through the 1840’s, 50’s and 60’s, John S. Norris donated a plot of land and a building commission was assembled for the construction of the First Congregational Church of Cottage Grove in 1868.
In 1966, after nearly 100 years as the First Congregational Church, the building was sold to Accacia Lodge No. 51. The lodge had been assembled in 1865 by many of the same members as the original congregtion and building commission for the church.
The mastery with which the building was erected has not gone unnoticed. In 1988 a report was prepared and the building was accepted into the City of Cottage Grove’s Register of Historic Sites and Landmarks. Beloved by “architecture buffs” for “its interesting blend of Greek Revival and Itallian Renaissance-inspired details” it continues to serve the community into its 150th year of service.
To see the building in-person, attend one of our several annual events and ask one of the lodge members for a tour. Along with getting a glimpse back into the founding of Cottage Grove you will be supporting one of our many charitable causes.

Lodge Restoration

Fun Facts

The Spelling of Accacia

The following is an excerpt from the “Accacia Lodge Centennial Program” written in 1965 by Denny K. Brann, P.M.
“Before we are accused of having no knowledge of the proper spelling of the tree known as the acacia, it is best that a word of explanation be entered. When our Brothers first requested to be Chartered the name of the Lodge read Acacia, but when our Charter was presented it read Accacia. Whether this was a misprint in the Charter, or whether the Brothers requested a last-minute change in the spelling, is not known to us, but in any event as long as our Charter reads Accacia Lodge No. 51, as such we shall be known.”