Franklin Masonic Lodge

Franklin's Masonic Lodge is a building of many firsts. Hiram Lodge No. 7, founded in Franklin in 1809, was first affiliated with the parent Lodge No. 55 in North Carolina. The local Lodge surrendered its North Carolina charter when the Grand Lodge of Tennessee was constituted in 1813 and received its present charter in 1815. In 1817 the Masons of Franklin organized the first legal lottery in Tennessee to fund the construction of a Masonic Hall. The three-story temple, completed in 1823, was the tallest building west of the Allegheny Mountains. Hiram Lodge No. 7 has met in the Masonic Hall since its completion, making it one of the oldest continuous lodges in the same location in the United States.

In addition to the temple's long Masonic history, it has been the site of many important religious, political, and social events. In 1830 James H. Otey, later the first Episcopal bishop of Tennessee, organized St. Paul's, the state's first Episcopal Church, at the Masonic Hall. On December 7, 1830, noted religious reformer Alexander Campbell preached in the hall and planted the seeds for the Church of Christ, which continued to meet on the site until the congregation completed the construction of a house of worship on Fourth Avenue in 1852. United States Commissioners John H. Eaton and John Coffee accompanied President Andrew Jackson to meet in council with the Chickasaw delegation in 1830 to negotiate the sale of Indian lands, marking the first time a U.S. president had personally participated in treaty negotiations. During the Civil War Confederate spies climbed to the roof to observe troop movements at Fort Granger, a Federal post across the river on Figuers's Bluff. After the battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864, the hall served as a hospital for wounded Union soldiers.

The Masonic Hall is also home to Franklin Chapter No. 2, Royal Arch Masons; DePaynes Commandry No. 11, Knights Templar; and Franklin Chapter No. 449, Order of Eastern Star.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Franklin Masonic Lodge
  • Author
  • Website Name Tennessee Encyclopedia
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  • Access Date July 25, 2024
  • Publisher Tennessee Historical Society
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 1, 2018