Morning Star lodge #19 has a long and proud history in Stockton. For over 150 years, Masons have been making an impact on the community.
Our history is one that follows the birth of a state and a boom which brought Masons from all over the country. In the mid 1800′s, Stockton was a city on the move. A destination for miners and travelers heading to and from the rich gold and silver mines of the Sierra Nevada’s.
The First Lodge to be chartered in Stockton was San Joaquin #19 on May 5th, 1852. Two Years Later, Morning Star #68 was chartered. The circumstances surrounding the formation of a second lodge in Stockton are tenuous and have been rumored to center around political sympathies between Union supporters and those that were more inclined to support the separatists.
Taken from the 1954 Commemerative Booklet “ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF MASONRY WITH MORNING STAR LODGE NO 68″.
And so a new lodge was conceived…Six days later, on December 14, 1854, Grand Master William M. Howard presiding in sacramento, issued a dispensation for a second lodge in Stockton called Morning Star Lodge #68.In the last 150 years, Stockton has had as many as five (5) chartered lodges. San Joaquin and Morning star and then Channel, Delta and Stockton. Of the five, only one remains today. In late 2010, San Joaquin Lodge # 19 and Morning Star Lodge #68 merged into one , and the newly formed Morning Star #19 was born.
The First permanent Masonic Lodge Hall was begun in 1883, and completed on May 23,1884, at a cost of $98,000.00. The opening included an author’s carnival and art loan exhibition. The third floor housed two lodge rooms, commandery hall, armory and livery, as well as a banquet hall and lavatory. The attic held the kitchen. The second floor housed the Masonic Music hall of 66 x 88 feet and 14 meeting rooms. The first floor contained four stores and two offices, plus the Post Office.
PHOTO: Circa: 1915
Photographer: Leonard Covello
The tall building in the center of the photo is the Original Masonic Temple. On the right is the Hotel Stockton. The Central California Traction Company annex was located on the first floor of the Hotel building. The masonic building was destroyed by fire in the early 1900′s and at it’s original location , now sits the downtown movie complex featuring 16 theatres and many restaurants and small shops.
Photo and information courtesy of the Bank of Stockton Photo Collection.
Map of Stockton, circa 1880′s
Builders of Dreams The California Masonic Experience
This exhibit debuted in February 2009 at the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America to high acclaim. It was on display at the Henry W. Coil Library & Museum of Freemasonry in San Francisco through Nov. 10, 2009. In addition to the artifacts a movie was produced.