The Masonic Temple in Hammond

The McKinley Temple No. 712 - Hammond, Indiana - 1920


The Masons have always contributed to the welfare of their community and have been moving forces in the economic development of a regional area. 

Early Hammond founders, such as Marcus Towle, were involved in the organizational establishment of the Masonic order in Hammond.

The historic summary of Hammond's Masonic order has been written by Bill McNabney, one of our teachers at Hammond High School and a mamber of the McKinley Lodge.

Many Hammond High students were involved in leadership positions in Job's Daughters and DeMolay.


Hammond's First Masonic Temple - 1909



"The History of McKinley Lodge No. 712 F.&A.M. 1919 - 1994"

by William F. McNabney
The McKinley heritage from Garfield Lodge #569

The history of Hammond and that of Masonry in Hammond is inseparable. Hammond grew from an early settlement of predominantly German immigrants when the Michigan Central Railroad built their tracks across the area in 1851. This made the region accessible to the fast growing population of Chicago.

The Construction of the famous Hammond Packing Plant began in 1869 resulting in a growing industry and a continuing influx of settlers. With the invention of the Davis Refrigerator Railroad car, The Hammond Packing Company began sending dressed beef to cities all over the country and even to Liverpool, England. By 1891 company had over 100 employees and was the largest single dressed beef processing plant in the world.

The eight petitioners from Hammond received permission from the Grand Lodge of Indiana in 1883, to conduct business a Garfield Lodge, "Under Dispensation" with Marcus Towle as Worshipful Master. The first stated Meeting "Under Dispensation" was held Friday evening January 8, 1883. Their regular and stated meetings are still held on Friday.

Garfield Lodge received its Charter as a Regular Lodge from Grand Master Bruce Carr dated May 24, 1884. Wor. Brother Marcus Towle was elected to continue to serve as Master of the Lodge.

It was also in 1883 that efforts to incorporate Hammond began. On Christmas Day, 1883, however., a devastating fire broke out in the central business district affecting both Hammond and Garfield Lodge. Garfield's first Lodge Room was on the southwest corner of Morton Court and Plumber Avenue (now Willow Court) on the second floor of the two-story frame building in the hart of this downtown business area. The fire Broke out in Towle's Butcher Shop, destroying the entire building in which the Butcher Shop, a Drug Store, and Garfield Lodge were located.

With the completion of the clean up after the fire, incorporation efforts were began again and he City of Hammond was incorporated on April 21, 1884. Garfield Lodge No. 569, F.&A.M., received its Charter bring it out from Under Dispensation on May 24, 1884.

This was the beginning of masonry in Hammond. By 1918, the time of the First World War, membership was grown extensively, and there was almost too much work for the members of one Masonic Lodge.

Following World War One, interest in the Masonic Fraternity in Hammond, Indiana increased to the extent that the officers and members of Garfield Lodge No.569, F&AM of Hammond concluded that a second Masonic Lodge in Hammond was necessity.

A discussion as to a suitable name for the new Lodge then took place. The names of Washington Lodge, McKinley Lodge, Hammond Lodge, Progress Lodge, and New Era Lodge were suggested, and finally the name McKinley Lodge was decided upon as a fitting tribute to the exemplary Masonic Character of our Martyred President as well as the splendid Christian character so fittingly displayed in his life.

The Grand Lodge Proceeding of the Grand Communication in 1919 makes reference to a Petition being received on March 18, 1919 for a new Lodge in Hammond. "The Grand Master Thomas B Bohon appointed Past Grand Master Lincoln V.Cravens of Hammond, Indiana as his special deputy, to investigate and report on the advisability of forming a new Lodge, and as a result of his favorable report two days later Dispensation was issued under the seal of the Grand Lodge and dated March 20, 1919.

1996 McKinley Lodge No. 712, F&AM Schererville, IN