The state of Minnesota received its statehood in 1858. Farmington was a small settlement of less than 200 people before the year 1865. At that time Farmington was known as Dakota City. Farmington sits on the East side of the Vermillion River, and just North of Farmington on the Ed Rother farm was a stagecoach stop. In 1865 the Minnesota Central Railroad, Mendota to Faribault came through on the West side of Farmington. In 1866 the population of Farmington was 250.
Corinthian Lodge No. 67 A.F. & A.M. was organized June 15, 1867 in Farmington, Minnesota and received dispensation and the charter from The Grand Lodge of Minnesota October 23, 1867. The meetings of Corinthian Lodge continued in Marshall’s Hall until 1879 when the “great fire” occurred; the Lodge lost everything except their records.
They then rented the Odd Fellows Hall until 1881 when they moved to their new hall on the third floor of the Griebie block. The Lodge hall was 20 by 40 feet. It had two ante-rooms and was beautifully decorated. This was on the Southwest corner of Third and Oak streets.
In May of 1917, the Masonic Temple Association was formed for the purpose of building a new temple for the Masonic Lodge. The member of this building committee August Kulstad, Alex Empey, H.W. Hosmer, C.S. Lewis, C.A. Carlson, H.L. Stevens, Dr. William M. Dodge and others. A lot was bought and excavation began at what is now 326 Third Street. The two story structure was of modern design, built of tile and brick, trimmed with Kasota stone and still stands. The general contract for this building was let at $15,000; the heating and plumbing at $2,500 and the lighting at $500. The building was 40 by 100 feet with a full basement.
The first floor consisted of two rooms, 20 by 100 feet, one of which was rented to H.W.Hosmer (Pioneer Drug Store) and the other was rented to L.A.Whittier Confectionery Store. The second floor was to be used for a spacious lodge hall, 40 by 51 feet; a banquet room 16 by 26 feet and a club room 16 by 26 feet. There was also a cloak room and two restrooms. The building was modern in every way and the hardwood furniture in the lodge hall corresponds to the hardwood sash and doors. The same furniture is used today, with the carpet in the lodge hall having been replaced in 1972. The entire structure used steam heat until 1983 when the boilers could no longer be maintained.
The building was finished in time for Golden Jubilee of the lodge celebrated October 23, 1917. Said The Dakota County Tribune (owner lodge member Hamilton Clay); “And now the Temple is completed. The dreams of men for 50 years is now a reality. The fruits of the toils of men who financed and took the responsibility of the building stands in Farmington today, as an asset to our village, the pride of the lodge and a memorial to those early founders and workers who have passed beyond the clamors of idle day.”
Early in the morning on a chillingly cold November day in 1947, a fire was discovered in the basement of the Masonic Temple. Had it not been for the untiring efforts of the Farmington Fire Department, Corinthian Lodge would have lost its beautiful Temple. However, severe damage resulted to Ahlberg Drug Store (formerly Hosmer’s Drug Store) and smoke damage to Grey Sweet Shop (formerly Whittier’s) and also to the lodge rooms upstairs. The damage was soon repaired.
Corinthian Lodge has contributed to the prosperity of Farmington not only in charitable causes, but with its members serving as leaders of the community. Members of Corinthian Lodge have served as Mayor, Council members, doctors, lawyers, teachers, school board members, realtors, insurance brokers, law enforcement officers, police chief, county sheriff, depot agents, postmaster, fire chief, county commissioners, bankers, editors and publishers, electric pioneers, automobile pioneers, scoutmasters and shop keepers, road builders, heavy construction contractors and in many other occupations.
To this day, Corinthian Lodge members still enjoy the comforts and convenience of this beautiful Temple. Corinthian Lodge shares this building with Myrtle Chapter No. 13, Order of the Eastern Star, Corinthian Chapter No.33, Royal Arch Masons, and Northfield Council No.12, Cryptic Masons. In the past, Bethel 88 of Jobs Daughters and H.W. Hosmer Chapter of the DeMolay met in the building. The two rooms on the first floor continue to provide rental space for local businesses. In addition, Farmington Boy Scout Troop No.9118 uses half of the basement as their meeting/club space.
In 2001 the Masonic Temple Building was designated a Heritage Landmark by the City of Farmington. The full City of Farmington building entry can be found here.
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Copyright © 2020 Corinthian Lodge No. 67 - All Rights Reserved.
Corinthian Lodge No. 67
326 3rd Street PO Box 63 Farmington, MN 55024
This publication is issued with the permission of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge A.F. and A.M. of Minnesota.