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400 City Park Avenue
Click on the photo above for the Masonic cemetery No. 1 photo album
Click on the photo above for the Masonic cemetery No. 2 photo album
Masonic Cemetery was purchased by this benevolent society by having the different lodges chip in to pay for it. People with money to purchase their own family tombs here did so, while others pitched in with their lodge brothers to buy larger tombs that would house a number of lodge members at one time. That way, no one was left out.
The Masonic cemetery was founded on January 18, 1865, after two petitions for the establishment of the cemetery. The cemetery was build while occupying Union forces were still in the city after the Civil War. The cemetery is divided into sections by Conti St. which runs through the center. It is surrounded by a cast iron picket fence and has a few entrances.. The cemetery has many unusual graves, including a Lodge tomb that has a set of exterior stairs that give access to the roof of the tomb; a set of columns that were saved from a Masonic Lodge demolition; and a tomb for the Red River Pilots. The Red River Pilots was an association of steamboat captains which has long been disbanded. Most of the graves in the Masonic Cemetery are raised above the ground with a small retaining wall that has been filled with soil. Even though there are no grave sites available for sale in this graveyard and it is not regularly maintained, it is one of the cleanest cemeteries in the city.
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The Masonic Lodge
A Lodge (often termed a Private Lodge or Constituent Lodge in Masonic constitutions) is the basic organisational unit of Freemasonry. Every new Lodge must be warranted by a Grand Lodge, but is subject to its direction only in enforcing the published Constitution of the jurisdiction. A Lodge must hold full meetings regularly at published dates and places. It will elect, initiate and promote its own members and officers; it will own, occupy or share premises; and will normally build up a collection of minutes, records and equipment. Like any other organisation, it will have formal business, annual general meetings (AGMs), charity funds, committees, reports, bank accounts and tax returns, and so forth.
A man can only be initiated, or made a Mason, in a Lodge, of which he may well remain a subscribing member for life. A Master Mason is generally entitled to visit any Lodge meeting under any jurisdiction in amity with his own, and a Lodge may well offer hospitality to such a visitor after the formal meeting. He is first usually required to check the regularity of that Lodge, and must be able to satisfy that Lodge of his own regularity; and he may be refused admission if adjudged likely to disrupt the harmony of the Lodge. If he wishes to visit the same Lodge repeatedly, he may be expected to join it, and pay a membership subscription.
Freemasons correctly meet as a Lodge, not in a Lodge, the word "Lodge" referring more to the people assembled than the place of assembly. However, in common usage, Masonic premises are often referred to as "Lodges". Masonic buildings are also sometimes called "Temples" ("of Philosophy and the Arts"). In many countries, Masonic Centre or Hall has replaced Temple to avoid arousing prejudice and suspicion. Several different Lodges, as well as other Masonic organisations, often use the same premises at different times.
Most Lodges consist of Freemasons living or working within a given town or neighbourhood. Other Lodges are composed of Masons with a particular shared interest, profession or background. Shared schools, universities, military units, Masonic appointments or degrees, arts, professions and hobbies have all been the qualifications for such Lodges. In some Lodges, the foundation and name may now be only of historic interest, as over time the membership evolves beyond that envisaged by its "founding brethren"; in others, the membership remains exclusive.
courtesy of wikipedia.com