The Grand Lodge of Idaho (full formal name Grand Lodge of Idaho, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons) is one of several bodies that govern Freemasonry in the U.S. state of Idaho as recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England. It was established in 1867 by five Masonic Lodges operating in Idaho Territory.
Membership in Freemasonry nationwide peaked during the period from 1900-1950. In Idaho “membership in Masons statewide has declined from 11,000 in 1982 to 4,388 members” in 2010, and “the number of lodges has declined to 56.”
The Grand Lodge of Idaho is headquartered in Boise.
The first organized Masonic activity in present-day Idaho dates to 1862, when a group of Freemasons organized an informal Masonic club in Florence in what was then Washington Territory. That same year, a dispensation was granted by the Grand Lodge of Washington to form a new Masonic Lodge in Lewiston. This Lodge was chartered in 1864 but disbanded a year later after a decline in gold mining activities in the area.
In July 1863 the Grand Lodge of Oregon granted a dispensation to a Masonic group in Bannock City (now Idaho City). This Lodge was chartered as Idaho Lodge No. 35 in 1864. The Grand Lodge of Washington, which considered all of Idaho Territory to be within its jurisdiction, charged the Grand Lodge of Oregon with illegally chartering the lodge. This controversy continued for some time and spread throughout the Masonic community in the United States. Even so, over the next couple years Masonic Lodges in northern Idaho Territory were granted charters in Washington while southern Idaho Territory Lodges continued to receive charters from Oregon.
By 1867 the need for a local Grand Lodge was recognized by the active Masonic Lodges in southern Idaho Territory. These Masonic Lodges, Idaho Lodge of Idaho City, Boise Lodge of Boise, Placer Lodge of Placerville, Pioneer Lodge of Pioneerville, and Owyhee Lodge of Silver City, met in December 1867 to form the Grand Lodge of Idaho. This meeting is considered to be the founding of the Grand Lodge of Idaho. The new Grand Lodge issued charters to these five Lodges in June 1868 which superseded their original charters from Oregon.
Idaho Lodge, which spearheaded the drive to create a Grand Lodge in Idaho Territory, was given the distinction of being recognized as its first chartered Lodge. Today Idaho Lodge No. 1 is headquartered in Boise.
A Masonic Lodge in Grangeville was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Idaho in December 1873, becoming the first northern Idaho Lodge under the Grand Lodge of Idaho’s jurisdiction.
Freemasonry spread quickly in Idaho. By the time Idaho attained statehood in July 1890 there were 21 active regular Masonic Lodges in the new state. In 1910 there were nearly 60. Since its founding the Grand Lodge of Idaho has chartered 97 regular Masonic Lodges, of which 64 are active as of 2006. The Idaho Lodge of Research, a special Masonic Lodge dedicated to Masonic scholarship, was chartered in 1965.
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Grand Lodge AF&AM of Idaho