What Is Freemasonry


The History of Olin S Wright Lodge

EBENEZER LODGE NO. 79 whose charter was granted January 13, 1876, held their first meeting as a U.D. Lodge on October 30, A.D. 1875, A.L. 5875, at Shearhouse's Mill, Polk County, Florida, near the present Kathleen, Florida, with the following officers present, to-wit: E. E. Mizel, W. M.; W. M. Wilderk, S. W.; S. T. Hollingsworth, J. W.; J. W. Lanier, Treasurer.; J. J. Lewis, Secretary.; J. W. Bryant, S. D.; C. W. Deeson, J. D.; and A. J. Sauls, Tyler Pro Tem. Stated Communication was the Saturday before the first Sabbath in each month at 2:00 o'clock P.M. Bro. William Deeson thereafter petitioned for initiation and was the first man who was made a Master Mason in the Lodge, being raised April 1, 1876. On April 2, 1881, "after a free fraternal canvass of the good of the fraternity,” the Lodge resolved to remove to Shiloh and on May 3, 1881, the Grand Master granted the dispensation to move to Shiloh. Meetings were held in the second floor of the Methodist Church in Shiloh, located just north of the present city limits of Plant City. With the construction of the J. T. & K. W. Railroad by Bro. Plant, Plant City came into being and September 6, 1884, the Lodge voted to move from Shiloh to Plant City and change its name to Plant City Lodge No. 79, dispensation for same being granted by the Grand Lodge January 21, 1885. The Lodge moved to Plant City and held its meetings in the J. JU. Frierson Building located at the NE corner of Reynolds and Collins Street. After a year, during which time the Masons and Baptists built a building on the present site of the City Hall parking lot, the Lodge moved into the second floor of the building, December 7, 1894. The Lodge moved into temporary quarters in the high school building, the property at the corner of Evers and Mahoney was acquired, and the building moved thereon from the City Hall site. On July 27, 1896, the Lodge moved into the building at its new location on the corner of Evers and Mahoney. In 1925, the Lodge changed its name again, this time from Plant City Lodge to Olin S. Wright Lodge No. 79 in honor of our own renowned Past Master, W Olin Seymour Wright. In 1955 the Lodge acquired a property between Reynolds Street and Thonotosassa Road in Plant City and erected a new Temple thereon. In December of 1957, the Lodge moved into its new Temple location. In 2021 the property between Reynolds Street and Thonotosassa Road was sold and in November of 2021 the Lodge moved once again and is currently located in the Zendah Grotto Building at 803 West Mahoney Street. Time has written into history the names of many Lodge Brothers who were and are prominent in the making of Plant City and prominent in the Masonic affairs of their day.

May it ever be thus . . .
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Masons (also known as Freemasons) belong to the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. Today, there are more than two million Freemasons in North America alone. Masons represent virtually every occupation and profession, yet within the Fraternity, all meet as equals. Masons come from diverse political ideologies, yet meet as friends. Masons come from varied religious beliefs and creeds, yet all believe in one God. 

Many of America's early patriots were Freemasons. Thirteen signers of the Constitution and fourteen Presidents of the United States, including George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt. 

One of the most fascinating aspects of Freemasonry is how so many men, from so many different walks of life, can meet together in peace, always conducting their affairs in harmony and friendship and calling each other "Brother." 

What is Freemasonry? 

Freemasonry (or Masonry) is dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God. It uses the tools and implements of ancient architectural craftsmen symbolically in a system of instruction designed to build character and moral values in its members. Its singular purpose is to make good men better. Its bonds of friendship, compassion, and brotherly love have survived even the most divisive political, military, and religious conflicts through the centuries. Freemasonry is a fraternity which encourages its members to practice the faith of their personal acceptance. Masonry teaches that each person, through self-improvement and helping others, has an obligation to make a difference for good in the world. 

Where Did Freemasonry Begin? 

No one knows just how old Freemasonry is because the actual origins have been lost in time. Some scholars believe Masonry arose from the guilds of stonemasons who built the majestic castles and cathedrals of the middle ages. While others speculate its heritage is derived from the "Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem", otherwise known as the Knights Templar. In 1717, Masonry created a formal organization when four Lodges in London joined in forming England's first Grand Lodge. By 1731, when Benjamin Franklin joined the Fraternity, there were already several Lodges in the Colonies. 

Today, Masonic Lodges are found in almost every community throughout North America, and in large cities there are usually several Lodges. A Mason can travel to almost any country in the world and find a Masonic Lodge where he will be welcomed as a "Brother." 

What Do Freemasons Do? 

The Masonic experience encourages members to become better men, better husbands, better fathers, and better citizens. The fraternal bonds formed in the Lodge help build lifelong friendships among men with similar goals and values. 

Beyond its focus on individual development and growth, Masonry is deeply involved in helping people. The Freemasons of North America contribute over two million dollars a day to charitable causes. This philanthropy represents an unparalleled example of the humanitarian commitment of this great and honorable Fraternity. Much of that assistance goes to people who are not Masons. Some of these charities are vast projects. The Shrine Masons (Shriners) operate the largest network of hospitals for burned and orthopedically impaired children in the country, and there is never a fee for treatment. The Scottish Rite Masons maintain a nationwide network of over 150 Childhood Language Disorder Clinics, Centers, and Programs. 

Many other Masonic organizations sponsor a variety of philanthropies, including scholarship programs for children, and perform public service activities in their communities. Masons also enjoy the fellowship of each other and their families in social and recreational activities. 

Several Masonic Principles Are: 

  • Faith must be the center of our lives 
  • All men and women are the children of God 
  • No one has the right to tell another person what he or she must think or believe 
  • Each person has a responsibility to be a good citizen, obeying the law 
  • It is important to work to make the world a better place for all 
  • Honor and integrity are keys to a meaningful life 

What Is The Masonic Lodge? 

The word "Lodge" means both a group of Masons meeting together as well as the room or building in which they meet. Masonic buildings are sometimes called "temples" because the original meaning of the term was a "place of knowledge" and Masonry encourages the advancement of knowledge.
Masonic Lodges usually meet once or twice a month to conduct regular business, vote upon petitions for membership, and bring new Masons into the Fraternity through three ceremonies called degrees. In the Lodge room Masons share in a variety of programs. Here the bonds of friendship and fellowship are formed and strengthened. 

Men of Character and Integrity Join The Masons 

Most are men who go about their jobs and professions with no hint they are Freemasons except for the way they lead their lives. Many are readily recognizable by name, face, or accomplishment. George Washington and thirteen other Presidents, eight Vice Presidents and forty-two Justices of the Supreme Court have been Masons. 

So Who Are The Masons? 

Masons are men of good character who strive to improve themselves and make the world a better place. They belong to the oldest and most honorable fraternity known to man. If you think you may be interested in becoming a member, you can begin by contacting a Lodge in your area or speaking to a Mason. 

Who Can Qualify To Join? 

Applicants must be men of good character who believe in a Supreme Being. To become a Mason one must petition a particular Lodge. The Master of the Lodge appoints a committee to visit the applicant prior to the Lodge balloting upon his petition.

For more information about how to join. Click Here