HISTORY ABOUT THE LODGE
Historical Date: The cornerstone was laid by the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1946. Right Worshipful Bruce Brannum acted for the Grand Master of Masons in Texas. Tax records show that the building was built in 1948.
Historical Background: On October 10, 1910 R. L. Hight and 26 other Master Masons petition Arlington Lodge No. 438 A. F. & A. M. to form a new Lodge to be named Grand Prairie Lodge No. _ at Grand Prairie, Dallas County, Texas. The Lodge’s Stated Meeting to be the First Saturday on or after a full moon.
(The vast majority of the Brethren were Demitted Members of Tannehill Lodge)
On November 12, 1910 Arlington Lodge No. 438 unanimously recommended the petition be granted.
On December 5, 1910 a Charter for Sam R. Hamilton Lodge No. 1031 at Grand Prairie, Dallas County, Texas was granted by The Grand Lodge of Texas.
On Saturday December 17, 1910 Brother Slaughter, an appointed Proxy of the Grand Master, constituted Sam R. Hamilton Lodge No. 1031 and installed Brother R. L. Hight, Worshipful Master, H. W. Heafer, Senior Warden and J. D. Duncan, Junior Warden and the other elective and appointed Officers. He then closed the Lodge.
On Saturday December 17, 1910 after the Constituting Lodge had been closed Brother Hight opened Sam R. Hamilton Lodge No. 1031 for its first Stated Meeting. At this meeting eleven petitions were read and accepted.
The Lodge was named after Sam R. Hamilton who was Grand Master of the Masonic Lodges in Texas in 1898-1899. Mr. Hamilton was from Farmersville and was the postmaster there when the town was incorporated on June 2, 1873 according to a article written by Bob Poole and published in the Farmersville times. You can read the article in it's entirety at Charles J Rike Memorial Library web site. New Lodges were often named after past Grand Masters. Such naming could not continue indefinitely since there are now 885 Lodges in Texas. The minutes of every lodge meeting, since the charter, are stored in the present lodge building. Before completion of this building, the lodge met upstairs at the Southwest corner of Center and Main. Some remember that the stairs were very steep. The Lodge Secretary was paid $25/month at this time. On January 3, 1946 Worshipful Master (W. M.) and architect, E. Carlyle Smith, summoned the Lodge for the purpose of continued planning of a new Lodge building, designed by himself, to be built on a purchased vacant lot at 110 N. Center Street. Perry C. Nash reported that the building contract had been let to Phillips Construction Company for $38,500. The estimated date for the building completion was January 1947. The Leasing Committee reported leasing the South half of the lower floor to Lone Star Gas for $120/month for five years and $70/month for the next five years. Mr. Nash also reported leasing of the North half of the lower floor to Texas Electric Service Company for $110/month with options for the next five years at $60/month. The loan to pay for the building was $25,000 (some money had already been raised) at 4½% interest. At the end of ten years there was an amount of $2,500 to be refinanced. G. H. Turner was Chairman of the Finance Committee.
As of June 1944, the Lodge had 173 members and Perry C. Nash was W. M. In June 1945, membership had grown to 286 members; E. Carlyle Smith was W. M. Following WW II, growth continued strong with 326 members in June 1946 when Vick T. Maples was W. M. When J. P. Aderholt was W. M. in June 1947, membership had grown to 384. A year later in June 1948, now in the new building when A. E. Trantham was W. M., membership had grown to 423. These were very busy and happy times for the Lodge. Between monthly stated meetings, it was not unusual to have ten called meetings for the purpose of hearing candidate proficiencies and degree work.
On October 1, 1946 Mr. Caraway offered to give the Lodge a neon sign for the new building with the Lodge paying for a transformer for it. This was referred to the Building Committee; it is believed that the offer was accepted. On August 5, 1947 the Lodge approved $125 to equip the Secretary’s office. In 1948 Mrs. R. L. Hight gave the Bible for the Altar, which is still used, in memory of her husband who was the first W. M. of Sam R. Hamilton Lodge in 1910; in subsequent years Past Master Hight served twice more as W. M. Lodge member dues in 1948 were $8/month. Freewill offerings were taken at most meetings to help pay for items like carpet, tile, etc. On February 3, 1948 the Secretary was given the authority to spend $125 to purchase the necessary books and files to activate the system; this was to be complete by May 1, 1948. In March of that year $27 was collected to buy a vacuum cleaner. In June the Secretary’s salary was raised to $75/month. There was so much Lodge activity that the job was essentially full-time.
Past Master John M. Barker, whose profession was in the air conditioning field, said that the building, when built, may have been the first building in Grand Prairie to have a gas-burner air conditioning system. Basically, the burner boiled water with ammonia in it. The boiling produced a gas with a fine mist that passed through capillaries that produced cooling. The air conditioner may have been a Coleman.
There is a brass plaque upstairs outside the Lodge meeting room that reads: "The furniture in this lodge room was presented to the Lodge by W. C. Hardman Jr. and family in memory of his father, W. C. Hardman Sr., who served as the W. M. 1924-1925 and again in 1943-1944." Lodge members started meeting in the new building in the summer of 1948.
After the first downstairs leases were up, Grand Prairie Office Supply leased all of the downstairs. Later, Bennett Office Supply leased the space. Then, in 2003 Rhonda Vaughn Interior Designs, who still occupied the space as of March 2006, leased the downstairs.
There was an electrical chair-lift for many years at the stairs to assist those unable to climb the stairs to participate in Lodge activities. Beginning in January 2005, Lodge annual dues for the first time in many years were raised from $40 to $60 to help pay for a two-person elevator that was installed during that summer, enabling many to attend assorted functions who cannot negotiate the stairs. The chair-lift was removed. Other Masonic and related bodies have met in the lodge for many years. They are: Order of the Eastern Star, the York Rite Chapter and Council, Rainbow Girls, and DeMolay. The current sign on the building, which depicts symbols all of these bodies, was donated by a donor who desires to remain anonymous"
In February 2005, the Lodge had 290 members, many of which had paid for or received endowed memberships.
Bro. Richard Chambers
Bro. Louis Stephens