Freemasonry was first introduced in Frederick County prior to the American Revolution. The first known lodge in Frederick County met in a residence on the farm of William Downey near New Market, Maryland prior to the year 1776.
During the Revolution, there was an Army lodge comprised of Maryland troops that was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Many of these brothers were from Frederick County.
After the War, during the 1790's, a lodge was held at “Fleecy Dale Factory” near the old glass works (Amelung) in the Urbana District. John Frederick Amelung, along with George Fearhake, formed the lodge. They both emigrated from Germany several years earlier, and formed the glassworks upon settling here in Fredericktown.
Brother Fearhake was the father of Adolphus Fearhake, Sr., and grandfather of Adolphus Fearhake, Jr, who was one of the best known and prominent citizens of Frederick, and went on to be Past Master and Secretary of Columbia Lodge #58.
The Grand Lodge of Maryland granted new charters to lodges. One of those chartered in February 1799 was Hiram Lodge #28 at Fredericktown. There were about 30 members in this lodge. The lodge surrendered or forfeited their charter in 1826.
Columbia Lodge #58 was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Maryland on November 7, 1815. Masons met on December 8, 1815 at the house of James Houston located on the Southeast corner of Market and Second Streets. Later, this was the location of the Farmer’s and Mechanic’s National Bank, which has since closed. At their next meeting on December 17, 1815 the by-laws of the lodge were adopted.
The next meeting of Columbia Lodge #58 was on St. John's Day, December 27, 1815 in Henry Blantz's home located on West Second St., where Centennial United Church presently stands.
At a special communication of the Grand Lodge on October 8, 1824 our illustrious citizen and Brother Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette, Marquis de Lafayette, commonly known as General Lafayette, was made an Honorary member of the Grand Lodge of Maryland. The General was visiting the United States on the fiftieth anniversary of the American Revolution. He returned to Baltimore several weeks later and attended elaborate banquet tendered by the lodge. Brother Lafayette was a dear friend of George Washington.
On Wednesday December 29, 1824 General Lafayette and his secretary Lee Vasseuer were received in the home of Henry Bantz on West Second Street. General Lafayette presented the commemorative masonic apron he wore when visiting Columbia Lodge to the Mayor of Frederick at the time, Brother William Baer. This apron is on display in the Columbia Lodge Library and Museum.
Governor Francis Thomas, who was Governor of Maryland, was a member of Columbia Lodge #58.
Only a few years later, Columbia Lodge #58, like all Masonic Lodges, were affected by the Anti-Masonic agitation and the brothers thought it was best to cease their meetings. On June 7, 1830 the last communication under the charter of 1815 was held.
In 1842 a number of Masons petitioned the Grand Lodge of Maryland to renew the charter. The petition was presented by Brother Anthony Kimmell, Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master to the Grand Lodge of Maryland. On November 16th, 1842, Columbia Lodge #58 was re-chartered, and continues to hold regular meetings to this day.
In 1864, Past Master John A. Lynch, namesake of Lynch Lodge served as Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master for the Grand Lodge of Maryland, and in 1892, Past Master Francis B. Sappington served as Right Worshipful Junior Grand Warden.
At the close of the 19th Century, on May 29, 1899, favorable action was taken to erect a building as a Masonic Temple in agreement with Lynch Lodge #163. On April 12th 1901 the Grand Lodge of Maryland laid the cornerstone of the Masonic Temple on West Church Street. On December 2, 1902 the new Temple was dedicated.
On November 17, 1948 Brother Harry O. Schroder, Past Master of Columbia Lodge #58, one of the most outstanding and best known Masons of the State, was elected Most Worshipful Grand Master of Maryland. A beautiful portrait of Brother Harry O. Schroeder was done by Ms Helen Smith and is on display in the lobby of the current Temple.
In May 1994, Lynch Lodge #163 approved the consolidation of their lodge with Columbia Lodge #58.
At the close of the 20th Century, on December 4, 1999 the cornerstone was laid for the new Masonic Temple on Blentlinger Road off the Golden Mile (US Rt. 40) in Frederick. Our new Temple would not have been possible without the magnanimous bequest of the funds from the estate of Brother Charles L. Blentlinger. Additionally, the Temple would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of all the Masonic organizations affiliated with our Temple.
On June 6, 2015, the brethren of Columbia Lodge for its 200th anniversary visited the prior temples in Frederick City and explained to the city the various Masonic events that occurred at those locations. Brother Matthew Sanders, Worshipful Master and his officers re-dedicated the cornerstone at the temple on West Church Street.
In May of 2021, the brethren of the Grand Lodge of Maryland saw fit to elect Past Master Shawn Winpigler (1983, 2005-2006) to the office of Right Worshipful Senior Grand Warden for 2022.
The best men of the community have been members of the craft and consider it an honor to be listed among the members. We have ministers of the Gospel, judges, lawyers, governors, members of Congress, members of the military, artists, teachers, and mechanics; in fact, men of all walks of life having met the requirements that make good men and masons. We have had members of the Grand Lodge of Maryland including one Grand Master from our lodge. We are honored to have glass from the Amelung glass works, the Masonic apron worn by brother Lafayette, and other Masonic regalia and antiquities on display in the Temple library and museum.
Updated May 20, 2021
Sections written by Brothers Scott Cameron (PM), Bobby Perry, Andrew Orcutt, and Adam Rivera