The question that led to this blog was, “When did it (the old stone schoolhouse) become the Masonic Temple?” I couldn’t answer the question off the top of my noggin so I went to a resource I found awhile back, James Hill’s 1941 Master’s Thesis, “A History of Baca County” Hill was superintendent at Vilas a few years prior to returning to complete his Masters and he did a summary of organizations in the county at that time. The text below provides the answer to the original question. I have added a couple of news articles to provide some timeline info prior to the purchase of the school as the Masonic Temple. Hope this helps.
A number of Master Masons, reciting in the vicinity of Springfield, met in the basement of the M. E. Church in Springfield on Friday evening, September 23, 1921, at the call of Albert A. Hazerman and Edward C. Measel for the purpose of considering the advisability of petitioning Marshall H. Van Fleet, Grand Master of the Masons in Colorado for a dispensation to form a new lodge in Springfield. The meeting was called to order by L. C. Elver and after a thorough discussion of the situation it was decided to first look into the matter of purchasing a place to meet. The committee of organization was appointed to the meeting adjourned.
The next meeting was on November 21st 1921, and was called to order by L.C. Elver. The committee reported on the purchase of suitable quarters and it was decided to purchase the old Springfield School building if it met with the approval of The Grandmaster. A petition requesting disposition was drawn up. L. C. Elver was recommended as master; R. J. Flint, senior Warden; and Lloyd Cole, Junior Warden. Petition was signed by all present and bore the following names: L. C. Elver, R. F. Flint, C. L. Doughty, J. J. Phillips, V. E. Critz, L. L. Bland, Loyd Cole, E. C. Denney, A. A. Hagerman, Maurice Long, J. M. Royster, J. E. Terrale, R. K. Trivett, E. C. Measel, and J. M. Graft. The next week, the following officers were elected and appointed: E. C. Measel, treasurer; A. A. Hagerman, secretary; W. A. Strand, senior steward; Maurice Long, junior steward; and Charles A. Roweth, teller.
The dispensation was issued May 13, 1922, and received May 16. Masons and their ladies met in the basement of the M. E. Church or bank would have been prepared. Fifteen local members in forty-seven non-resident members were present. James Cade Doughty Lamar lodge number 90 read the dispensation to deliver it to L. C. Elver,” with appropriate remarks, charging him with the duty of maintaining the high standards of masonry in Colorado.”
The Masonic Temple Association, and independent organization, was incorporated for the purpose of financing the newly purchased Temple. Certificate of stock in the various denominations from $5 to $25 bearing interest at 6% per annum were issued members of The Lodge, payable out of the revenue of the lodge. Only one issue was made and the certificate of indebtedness were paid off December 21st 1931. During this time cash sometimes ran low and going was tough, but members advanced private loans to meet emergencies.
On September 22nd 1922 the charger was issued by Marshall H. Van Fleet. The charter members were R. F. Flint, Lloyd Cole, J. J. Phillips, E. C. Measel, A. A. Hagerman, E. C. Denney, C. A. Roth, Albert Neal R. K. Trivet, J. M. Graff, Maurice Long, Charles L. Dowdy, William A. Strand, J. M. Royster, Roy Hodges, H.L. Chapman, S. E. Eaton, L. L. Bland, C. C. Temple, C. S. Grill, J. A. Spikes, H. C. Kett, V. E. Ritz, J. C. Tara, and L. C. Elver.
At the time it received its Charter, the lodge had 25 members; today has grown to a membership of 114. The temple is located in the northwest part of Springfield and formerly was a school house. The building has been reappointed and re-roofed. The basement has a banquet Kitchen in a hall with a restroom and equipment to take care of the social activities of the lodge. The main Lodge Hall is on the main floor. The present officers of the lodge number 158 are H. L. Hershey, master; E. E. Terry, senior warden Z. T. Howell, junior warden; Joe Perkins, senior deacon; c. L. Dowdy, treasure; B. H. Cox, secretary; V. L. Novinger, senior steward; J. Jackson, junior steward; and C. P. Leimkuhler, teller.