Nine Mile Masonic Lodge
Nine Mile Masonic Lodge No. 49 A.F. & A.M. will be 139 years old on April 3. The first meeting on April 3, 1866, was held in an old log schoolhouse on the Foster farm, one mile southeast of the old town of Delaware. This was southeast of Kansas State Penitentiary Reservoir on Kansas Highway 5.
The charter was granted on Oct. 17, 1866. R.C. Foster, the oldest Mason on the petition, was elected first Worshipful Master. The lodge was named Nine Mile because the charter members expected to build a hall at Nine Mile Creek, nine miles south of Fort Leavenworth, but this never materialized.
The lodge was moved from the log house on the Foster farm to a one-room schoolhouse at Wallula, where meetings were conducted for one or two years. The lodge then moved to a two-story schoolhouse in Fairmount, and from there to Uncle Joe Kelley's residence near Nine Mile School, then back to Fairmount. In 1880, there was an urgent appeal to the grand master for permission to move from Fairmount to Lansing.
The first officers in Lansing were installed in January 1881 in a hall in Churchill's store building. In October 1883, they moved into a hall built by the lodge over a store building occupied by Brother Edward Merritt. Then they moved to a second building constructed by Merritt that burned July 13, 1923. I remember reading one of my dad's letters telling how he helped to fight the fire that destroyed buildings on the west side of downtown Lansing. They moved the lodge to Woodman Hall on the east side of the highway, later named the Kendall Building.
Woodman Hall was on the second floor of the building. Kendall Drug Store and the cafe were 12 feet apart; the outside entrance to the hall was located in this area. You can see the opening between the two buildings in the "Lansing Remembered" painting.
When the new four-lane highway came through Lansing, 17 buildings and homes were demolished on the east side of Kansas Highway 7 in 1966. The lodge at that time built its present building at 104 Holiday Terrace.
- This information was compiled by the Centennial Committee in 1966.