Excelsior Lodge No. 113 has made its positive impact in Excelsior for over 140 years. The Excelsior Lodge was started in 1875 by Oscar C. Meaker and has been a standing institution in the area for over a century.
Meaker, who was from Vermont, settled in Excelsior in 1871. He served as acting chairman of the town board for one year and justice of the peace for two years. Meaker convened the first meeting of the Lodge on August 10, 1874, serving as Master for 10 years. The Lodge was officially chartered on January 13, 1875.
His wife, Mary Meaker, presided over the first meeting of the Order of the Eastern Star on March 6, 1883, as the First Worthy Matron. The Order of the Eastern Star is a separate group of the Masons that was established in 1850 and is open to both men and women. In order to join men must be Master Mason and women must have a relative who is a Mason. The order is based on teachings from the Bible, with the star representing the heroines of the Bible: Adah, Ruth, Ester, Martha and Electra.
The current Masonic Lodge, at 249 Water Street, has been used since the late 1926. The organization previously met at the Hunt boarding house and then on the north side of Water Street when they moved after a fire destroyed the block.
The building used to be the site of the Excelsior Library, the Excelsior Chamber of Commerce and the original site of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church.
The organization has a number of historical artifacts including two large oil paintings of Ruth and George Washington that were commissioned in the 1920s by Lake Minnetonka Steamboat owner and Mason Captain J.R. Johnson. The organization also has the original charters, a book signed by every Master and a number of other Masonic artifacts.
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