The city of Douglas was brought into existence about 1901; as a site having proper and sufficient water facilities for smelters to process the copper ores of two mining companies located in Bisbee: The Phelpes Dodge Corporation's "Copper Queen", and the Calumet & Arizona Mining Company.
By 1902, Douglas had passed its diaper days, and was a booming town with a promising future. Most of the citizens of the new town were active young men, with varied training and ambitions. Among these newcomers, was a small group who had traveled to the east for the secret word, and who now brought the word with them into this new land of the west.
Imbued with the pioneering spirit for new business, they were filled with the pioneering spirit in Masonry, and it was not long before they met and talked about a Masonic Lodge!
The result was that they held a preliminary meeting on November 29, 1902. Twelve Master Masons assembled at the offices of the Atlas Exploration & Mining Company, for the purpose of taking the necessary measures for the establishment of a lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. Brother Allan R. Hickman was called to the chair and Brother H. Ivor Thomas was named secretary.
The first order of business was the selection of a name; Mount Moriah Lodge. The chairman then proposed, as the next requisite measure, a selection of the Master and Wardens to be named in the petition for dispensation; where upon on motion of Brother C.V. Light a ballot to nominate Brother Allan R. Hickman for master; David T. Dunlap for Senior Warden, Ogden O. Hammill for Junior Warden was received. After the petition was drafted by Brother H. Ivor Thomas, P.T. Wright and Ogden O. Hammill, it was signed by twenty men who represented seventeen different states and Canada.
The second preliminary meeting was held January 27, 1903. The purpose being to make arrangements to provide the necessary furniture for the lodge and suitable room for meetings. Space in the Coles Blanchford building was rented for three years and a committee was appointed to order and purchase a carpet and furniture.
On March 3, 1903 the petition, with the limits, was presented to perfect Ashlar Lodge #12 at Bisbee, Arizona, with the fraternal desire of petitioners that it recommend to the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Territory of Arizona the issue of a Dispensation for the establishment of the proposed new Lodge.
It was not until March 16, 1903, that the first meeting under dispensation was held - to organize - and the first meeting as a recognized lodge, under dispensation, was held on March 24, 1903. There were twenty names on the list at this meeting. Two names were added, by affliation, on August 11, 1903.The secretary read the dispensation to those present. The next requisite measure was to adopt by-laws for the lodge. These set the amount of dues at fifty cents a month and fixed the amount to attend the renting of the hall to "secret societies or individuals" and to make collections for such use.
On July 14, 1903, Mt. Moriah Lodge held its first stated meeting. The by-laws adopted by the lodge had been approved by the Grand Master. The business of the lodge proceeded as applications for membership were read and acted upon.
The charter was not issued to the lodge until November 15, 1904. Dr. Hickman was elected Master, and Mount Moriah was out of its swaddling clothes and in business as a full-fledged lodge!
Little is known from the years between 1905-1911 because the secretaries' book was destroyed by fire; however, in 1911 the lodge began to talk about having a "home" of its own. As a consequence, a fact finding committee was appointed and upon this committee's report, it was determined to purchase the present building and lots 21-22, block.8. A permanent group which became known as the Masonic Building Corp. was formed to be the business agent for the lodge.
Soon after purchasing the property, plans were made to renovate the upper floor and install a staircase. The grace and beauty of the winding staircase, one of the few in the United States, delights the members and attracts attention of visitors throughout the United States who attend the beautiful Mount Moriah Lodge. High ceiling supported on the sides by pilasters lend dignity to the ceremonies and business conducted in the lodge rooms.
Throughout the years the lodge has mourned the loss of many esteemed brothers, but only once did they bring the body of a brother to the hall and perform a special service. Mourners remained throughout the night with the body. On August 4, 1920, brother Peter Smith was so mourned.
World War I left an impact on the lodge as many men stationed in Douglas joined the lodge. In 1918 few of these men were remitted. Mt. Moriah wholeheartedly supported the food conversation program, even having a Hoover meal as a reminder of the need to conserve food.
Mt. Moriah Lodge responded to calls for help from its own brothers and sisters from the earliest years to the present. In 1924 the National Committee requested $400.00 to help purchase and preserve the Thomas Jefferson Home and again the lodge responded.
Members of Mt. Moriah Lodge have a proud heritage of servicing the community and country for over 100 years. Many members of Mt. Moriah Lodge served with distinction during World War II.
Brothers and their families planning on visiting Douglas and the surrounding area and would like a tour of the lodge and Douglas, drop us an E-Mail and we will be happy to show you around.