Weatherford Democrat

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June 8, 2014

Phoenix Lodge to celebrate 150th anniversary

WEATHERFORD —

The public is invited to attend a celebration of the Phoenix Lodge No. 275 as it turns 150 years old. The celebration will take place June 14 at Weatherford College.

From the first meeting held in June of 1863, and the charter coming a year later officially on June 27, 1864, Phoenix Lodge has seen the history of Parker County unfold through its members and the community.   

Esteemed members of Phoenix Lodge over the years have included: O.W. Keeler (First Master of the Phoenix Lodge and credited with establishing the first school in Weatherford), Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight (their exploits as cattlemen have been widely repeated over the years), D.O. Norton (responsible for planning the original square and streets of Weatherford, building the first dwelling house and serving on the first police force), along with countless others. 

From its inception, Phoenix Lodge has included influential, caring and dedicated members that have supported the city of Weatherford, Parker County and the surrounding areas, none having a greater impact on our community than that of Weatherford College.  

The Phoenix Lodge began with a small number of brethren coming together and forming the “Ocean” lodge in 1858. The last meeting of the Ocean Lodge was documented to be in May of 1862. Several of the brethren that were members of the Ocean Lodge were among those who petitioned the Grand Lodge of Texas to form a new lodge in Weatherford. Just as the phoenix rose from the ashes of the previous phoenix with renewed strength and beauty based on Greek mythology, so has the Phoenix Lodge rose from the ashes of the Ocean Lodge with greater strength to continue the masonic traditions here in Parker County.

In 1869, the lodge voted to build a two-story building that would serve as a school house with one of the rooms being designated the lodge hall. The Weatherford Masonic Institute, as it would be known as, housed several schools that were conducted in it from 1869 to 1889. This building made it possible for Weatherford to have a college while similar efforts failed in many nearby communities. Phoenix Lodge sold this building in 1889 and Weatherford College officially opened its doors for its first session on Sept. 15, 1889. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Lodge members voted to purchase a parcel of land in order to construct a suitable two-story building on the corner of South Main and Oak Streets. The first meeting in the new lodge was in January of 1891. This would be the meeting place for Phoenix Lodge members for the next 93 years.  

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