The Brotherhood is distinctive and mysterious; a bond between good men, a bond that strengthens us when we’re together and sustains us when we’re apart.
Masons, also known as Freemasons, are a fraternal organization that shares common moral ideals and esoteric values. While we are not a religious institution, we all share a belief in a Supreme Being/Grand Architect. Our membership is based on the doctrine of “Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. While Masons loyally help each other, we also take pride in assisting others. We participate in charitable activities and community service.
Our membership is private not secret. We are the oldest fraternity in the world and can trace our history to biblical times. Our membership is worldwide, our lodges are clearly visible, and our deeds are publicly noted. We march in parades, dedicate buildings visit the sick and shut in and feed the less fortunate. Our members come from all walks of life such as teachers, policeman, doctors, lawyers, sailors, soldiers, janitors, business owners, congressmen and presidents.
The founding fathers of this great nation were Masons; Prince Hall, Ben Franklin, Benjamin Banneker, Paul Revere, John Hancock and several Presidents George Washington, James Monroe, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and Gerald Ford.
The first meeting of Eureka Lodge #36 took place on May 8, 1879. It was held under dispensation in the Wilder Building, located at the intersection of Main and Exchange Street in downtown Rochester. The charter was granted on December 3, 1879. In the years since, the Lodge and individuals among its membership have made many worthwhile contributions to the Rochester community.
Among our notable achievements over the years, the one for which Eureka Lodge #36 is currently most proud, is the role it played in establishing the monument to the memory of the great abolitionist, writer and orator Frederick Douglass, which now stands at Highland Park in Rochester.
Our Brother, John W. Thompson, at a regular meeting of the lodge held November 20, 1894, made a motion that a committee be formed for the purpose of raising funds for erecting a monument in memory of the Afro-American Soldiers and Sailors who had fallen in the wars of this country. Shortly after the passing of Frederick Douglas, the committee decided that the monument would be restructured and erected in the memory of Mr. Douglas. It was on June 20, 1898 that the Grand Master of Prince Hall Masons in the State of New York, Most Worshipful E. R. Spaulding, accompanied by members of his cabinet, and joined by members of Eureka Lodge #36 and Estella Chapter #7, Order of Eastern Star, joined in a ceremony to lay the cornerstone for the Frederick Douglas Monument.
Eureka Lodge has been fortunate to have attracted to its membership some of the Rochester community’s outstanding citizens. In recent memory these include, while not being limited to: the city’s first African American commission of the department of municipal government (Past Master Stanley Thomas, Sr.); the first Black to practice law in the city (attorney Lloyd Hurst); the first Black to be appointed to the city police department (Captain Charles Price), City Court Judge (Roy W. King) ,the first African-American mayor of the City of Rochester (Mayor William A. Johnson) current mayor of the City of Rochester (Mayor Malik Evans). Other brothers of this fraternity have achieved acclaim in private business: Emerson U. Fullwood (Corporate Officer, Xerox Corporation), Millard Latimer Sr. (Funeral Director), John R. Hill, Jr. (Author – Third Degree: Leadership, Project Management and Old School Masonry) and Tony Jackson (Panther Graphics Printing). Many of our Brothers have achieved management and supervisory positions with prestigious employers in our community, including Kodak, Xerox, General Motors, Excellus Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Rochester Institute of Technology to name but a few.
Eureka Lodge has recently extended charitable support to the Open Door Mission, the Boy Scouts of Greater Rochester, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Determined Divas and several other organizational programs across Rochester. In addition we have supported the Ronald McDonald House “Have a Heart” Campaign, the Masonic Child ID program and the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign.
On a regular basis, Eureka provides usher service at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Greater Rochester Commission Community-wide Worship Service. In an effort to further support the youth of our community, Eureka annually awards a scholarship in the name of one of our late members, Moses Anderson. Youth are further supported through Eureka’s mentored chapter of the Knights of Pythagoras, Martin Luther King Jr. Chapter #1. These projects and these men and others like them, give Eureka Lodge in particular, and Prince Hall Freemasonry in general, ample reason to be proud.