In 1961, Ray Baker Harris, Past Grand Master of the District of Columbia and Librarian of the House of the Temple, published the sesquicentennial history of the Grand Lodge of D.C. The purpose of the book was to bring up-to-date the official History of the Grand Lodge that was published 50-years earlier by the Grand Lodge's Grand Historian, Kenyon Harper. Harris’ history provides a concise but remarkably through account of memorable Masonic moments in the District. The following are a few interesting excerpts from his historical update:
- 1822: On March 9th, members of Congress who belonged to the Craft met in the Senate Chamber to discuss several topics including the possibility of creating a General Grand Lodge of the United States. Senator Henry Clay (below), Past Grand Master of Kentucky in 1820, offered a resolution, which was unanimously adopted, to engage with the Grand Lodges to bring representatives to meet a year later to draft a Constitution for ratification across the Grand Lodges.
- 1825: The first Grand Lodge Funeral Service was conducted on September 26th for Junior Grand Warden John Frank.
- 1838: The first appointment of a Grand Lodge representative to another jurisdiction occurred in 1838. Upon the Grand Master of D.C.’s nomination, the Grand Master of New York appointed a District brother as New York’s representative. This was reciprocated by our Grand Lodge to New York.
- 1831-1840: For a brief period of time, the Grand Lodge adopted a system of three Deputy Grand Masters, which served across the three distinct parts of the District of Columbia: Washington “City”, Alexandria, and Georgetown. Georgetown and Washington City, while on the same side of the Potomac, were considered separate entities. The practice served a purpose for a time but was eventually returned to one Deputy Grand Master.
- 1843: The Grand Lodge of DC attended a national masonic conference on May 8th, to consider the possibility of forming a national General Grand Lodge. No action was taken due to lack of support across the states.
- 1848: At its annual communication on November 9, the GL received a petition for, and subsequently chartered California Lodge No.13. The Lodge was made up of Masons from D.C. who moved to California during the Gold Rush. (In 1850, Lodge no. 13 was one of several lodges to form the Grand Lodge of California, at which time No.13 became California No.1)
- 1858: A proposal was brought up to the Grand Lodge by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association for financial support to purchase Mt. Vernon - George Washington's estate in Alexandria. The Grand Lodge adopted a resolution to assess each member of the Jurisdiction $1 to send to the Association in aid of their cause.
- 1902: The GL declines a petition from several brethren living in China to charter a Lodge in Tientsin; citing the difficulty of supervising the Lodge from such a long distance.
- 1905: Past Grand Master Baird recommends the creation of the Good Standing Card system, which today we know as the Dues Card, and is used across the Jurisdiction to confirm a brother’s standing in a particular lodge. He recommended the card be pressed with the seal of their lodge and mark receipt of payments made.
- 1905: The constitution, rules, standing resolutions, landmarks, and Grand Master's decisions had accumulated to such a high proportion that the Grand Lodge moved to publish their first annotated Masonic Code of D.C.
- 1915: The Grand Lodge authorized the creation of the Masonic Employment Bureau in D.C. for the purpose of assisting Master Masons, members of the Eastern Star, and those in their immediate families find employment. By 1919, the Bureau reported that it had filed 548 applications and placed 473 persons in a variety of professional and non-professional positions across D.C. The group lasted until 1928 when it was reorganized under a separate group.
- 1934: The Grand Lodge authorized the presentation of the first set of 50-Year Membership Pins to Master Masons across the Jurisdiction who attained fifty years of continuous membership in a D.C. Lodge. Unlike today, the first set of 50-Year pins were made of gold.
- 1937: The Grand Lodge established the Lodge Fidelity Medal award
- 1942: The Grand Lodge established the Distinguished Service Medal award
- 1960: The Grand Lodge approved the creation of the Masonic Foundation of D.C.