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Freemasonry - Why does Pennsylvania not have a Lodge No. 1?

Why does Pennsylvania not have a Lodge No. 1?


Keen observers will note that the oldest Lodge in Pennsylvania is Lodge No. 2. So, what happened to Lodge No. 1?


The beginnings of Lodge No. 2 are practically inseparable from the origins of Pennsylvania Freemasonry as it is today. Pennsylvania Lodge No. 4, the first iteration of the lodge, was established on June 24, 1757.


However, as this new lodge began its work, it quickly became apparent that Lodge No. 4 was not following the “Modern” Masonic ritual under the rules of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and the “Modern” Grand Lodge of England. Instead, this new lodge was working in the “Ancient” form, a new branch of Freemasonry that sought to return to the Craft’s traditional landmarks and customs. Long dissatisfied with the inconsistent and disorganized state of “Modern” Freemasonry, the “Ancients” had established their own “Ancient” Grand Lodge of England in 1751.


The brethren of Lodge No. 4, realizing that their true loyalties did not lie with the other “Modern” lodges, petitioned the Ancient Grand Lodge of England for the proper Masonic authority to constitute a new “Ancient” lodge in Philadelphia, the first of its kind in Pennsylvania. On June 7, 1758, the Ancient Grand Lodge of England issued a warrant establishing Lodge No. 69 on the rolls of England and No. 1 in Pennsylvania. This is the date that Lodge No. 2 celebrates as the day the lodge was born.


But not long after Lodge No. 1 was established, it quickly became apparent that a single lodge would not be able to fully promote the “Ancient” form of Freemasonry in opposition to the several “Modern” lodges. The brethren of Lodge No. 1 therefore requested for the Ancient Grand Lodge of England to establish an Ancient Grand Lodge in Pennsylvania, so that new Ancient lodges could be lawfully warranted and created. Anticipating that their petition would be granted, Lodge No. 1 renamed itself “Lodge No. 2” in 1760, surrendering “Lodge No. 1” to the forthcoming Provincial Grand Lodge. The Ancient Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was thereafter established by the Ancient Grand Lodge of England on July 15, 1761. For the first several years of its existence, Lodge No. 2 was virtually synonymous with the Ancient Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania – all of the Grand Officers came from Lodge No. 2 until 1772.


By the end of the Revolutionary War, the “Modern” branch of Freemasonry was extinct in Pennsylvania, leaving only the “Ancient” lodges that originated with Lodge No. 2.

Thanks to the website for Lodge No. 2 for this concise history!


(Shown here is Ionic Hall, at The Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, one of the rooms that Lodge No. 2 may use for meetings.)


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