Gainesville Masonic Lodge No. 41 was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Florida on January 15, 1857. The Grand Lodge at that time was head quartered in Tallahassee, Florida. The petition for the charter was made by eighteen masons who where the first members of Gainesville Lodge. From 1857 to 1908 lodge meetings where held in different locations around Gainesville. One of these locations being where the downtown Gainesville fire station is today. Before the firestation there was a three story building on which the 3rd floor is where the lodge met. Ironically the building burned down and now sits the Gainesville fire station.
On Septemeber 9, 1908 the corner stone was laid for the current lodge building on 215 N. Main Street. The event was covered by local news papers, The Gainesville Sun and The Gainesville Elevator. The Elevator reported “the afternoon was virtually a holiday for the entire city”.On April 14, 1909 the first meeting was held in the current Masonic Lodge that ocupies the corner of West Main Street and Second Ave.
History specific to Gainesville:
Present day Second Ave, South used to be known as Masonic street prior to the adoption on the quadrandt system by the City of Gainesville in 1950.
The corner stone of the University Auditorium was laid in April 21, 1922 under Masonic supervision.
Dr John Tigert, former president of the University of Florida was made a mason by Gainesville lodge on April 16, 1946.
During world war II Gainesville lodge was the only lodge known to have opened its doors for the housing of servicemen. Soldiers that had a weekend pass would travel to Gainesville from Camp Blanding, which is just outside of Lawtey, FL. Two brothers from the lodge would volunteer to take the Saturday night shift which was 7:00pm to 7:00am. The next morning the “kitchen crew” would cook a hearty breakfast for the servicemen to enjoy before going back to base. At one point occupancy reached 276 in one night. The lodge served 10,000 servicemen over a 77 week period that represented all the states except Alaska and Hawaii which where only territories at the time.