Kingston’s Turn in 23

Turn of the Century at Kingston Lodge No. 16 – A Success!

By:
James E. Bungard
Junior Grand Deacon
James E. Bungard Junior Grand Deacon

Masonic history comes to us from many different avenues, there is history of the several degrees, history of our beginnings, history of our buildings, history of our events and great undertakings, history of our deeper meanings, history of our artifacts, history of our Grand Lodges.  But one history is sometimes overlooked and perhaps the most important of all our histories: the history of our lodges.

The lodge is the true history of Freemasonry.  Remember when you took your degrees and a Worshipful Master presented and instructed you on the emblems of the third degree?  One such emblem was The Beehive.  It teaches us to give back to society, that we should be a useful member of society and to pass on knowledge and understanding.   History is knowledge and further light, for light in Freemasonry comes in many different shapes and sizes.   Why are our lodge’s histories so important?

It is important to ensure future generations of Freemasons know the people and events that gave shape to the character of each Masonic Lodge. The lodge is us, the lodge made our fraternity, which is the true history.  A lodge is a certain number of Masons, and we as New Mexico Freemasons should be very proud of our lodges’ rich history and those that made it for us.  But does it stop there?  No, for we today will be the history of tomorrow, what we do today in our lodge and in the Fraternity will be looked upon decades, centuries down the road. Nevertheless, we should not forget the rich history of our lodge and those that went before us.

Your Lodge may have a very interesting history to share but if it’s not being properly preserved, it will be lost forever. Preserving Masonic History becomes an important duty for all of us. This is what happens every year on the last Saturday of October at Kingston’s Lodge #16 in Hillsboro, New Mexico. It’s called the “Turn of the Century” event, which started in the Spring of 2000 and has become an annual event. Everyone comes dressed in turn of the century attire (late 1800’s) including firearms and other items dating back to the turn of the century. The event is a celebration of connecting the past to the future, which is absolutely paramount in maintaining and preserving the link from our past from whence we came. It’s a great event with memorial services, presentations, entertainment, great food and brotherly love and friendship. There is no better way to spend the day guaranteed.  

Kingston Lodge at RefreshmentKingston’s historic lodge is filled with history and contain such men that have given back to society, but have we forgotten them? Kingston Lodge dates back to 1888 and housed local businesses through the years, the second floor was and still is the home of Kingston’s Masonic Lodge. As you drive into town in Hillsboro it seems like you have gone through a time warp. The first thing you notice is the very old buildings, establishments, signs dating back to the period. Your first experience is when you look at the outside of the lodge and view the porch which looks like something out of an old western movie. Once inside every step you take going up the stairs to the lodge room is like a taking a step back in time and when you finally arrive in the Lodge room you have arrived back in 1888 complete with Spittoons, Candle lighting, kerosene lamps, old-time photos, wooden ceiling, wooden chairs etc. Kingston Lodge is a meaningful piece of history. Its hard to believe this historic building has stood the test of time and it is in as good shape as it is. I’m very fortunate and proud to be a member of this historic lodge. 

The event is all about preserving some of this fabric of Kingston lodge, because it just wasn’t a structure but a piece of New Mexico History more importantly New Mexico Freemasonry history. This is our history, from our first charters from Missouri to Montezuma, Chapman, Aztec and to Lincoln and Kingston Lodge and every city and town in between. This history, we sometimes forget, is the true history of our fraternity, and the story continues today with the new generation of Freemasons joining our lodges. We should be preserving and celebrating this fragile fabric of ours so our future generations of Freemasons will know the history of this lodge.

History is one of the most important aspects to give knowledge of what has gone on before, to account for the spread of the Craft, and to know the contributions Freemasonry has made to our cities, states and country.

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