ON AN OCTOBER STOP in Pleasant Grove, Minnesota, I walked the gravel road from the town hall to the old Masonic lodge. Yes, you read that right. Gravel. Not a single paved street in this unincorporated village that is home to Minnesota’s oldest Masonic lodge chartered in 1858.
In this settlement, you will see too many vehicles with hoods up, wood stashed in the backs of abandoned pick-up trucks, sizable wood piles and at least one grand brick and limestone house atop a hill.
Most motorists likely wouldn’t even bother to turn off Olmsted County Road 1 into this berg. It’s that unassuming. But then I am not anyone. I delight in discovering these mostly unnoticed places that others pass by.
While Pleasant Grove, which lies some 15 miles south of Rochester, may not be all neat and city-ish proper, it is still home to some. Knowing small towns as I do, I expect I was being watched while poking around.
As I climbed the wooden steps to Masonic Lodge 22, I was hoping to get inside. But that was wishful thinking. Nothing’s unlocked anymore. Instead, I settled for peeking inside a front window to view a spacious room with what appears to be a kitchen in the rear.
This structure, built in 1868 and rededicated in 2003, has been home to local Masons for more than 150 years. They meet here twice a month, except in the summer when it’s once/month.
According to a sign out front, Lodge 22 meetings were initially held in the Green Mountain House. Google as I might, I could find no online info about that house.
This historic structure also served as a store and meat market when it was built.
So what, exactly, is a Mason? According to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternal order in the world—a universal brotherhood of men dedicated to service, God, family, fellowman and country.
No mention of men laying stone.
FYI: Please check for one more story in this three-part series from Pleasant Grove. Click here to read my first story.
© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling