|History of Federal Lodge #17, Lodge of Masons|
Federal Lodge #17 is almost as old as our Nation. The U.S. of A., itself, was only seven years old when some Town residents, made Masons on other jurisdictions, decided that Watertown needed its own Masonic Lodge. The meeting of formation is recorded as December 22, 1790.
Yes, we are certain of that date. We have the original minutes, carefully handwritten and preserved through the years. It is also interesting to note the names of those founders and how they served in early Town history. We have them as well, to be shared with anyone who is interested in Town or Lodge history. Actually, the minutes of every Federal communication since that time are carefully preserved and available
Through the years, Federal Lodge #17 has enjoyed many various headquarters. Among these are two which are factors in everyday Town activities. One of these was known as Bishop's Tavern, a popular stopover on the road to Albany. It has, long since, been moved to Echo Lake Road and still serves the public. The other Lodge Hall was situated on the second floor of the Gridley Building that we now know as home to the Watertown Fire District. It is the same portion that is presently occupied Watertown Historical Society, crowded in there on that second floor.
Our present Temple (Masonic term) location has been home to Federal Lodge #17 for well over 130 years. When it was purchased in 1872, it was actually across the road on property not for sale. This big residence was then moved to its present site, no small task at the time. Added to and redesigned as necessary through the intervening years, regular meetings are still held in the original building, long since rebuilt to its present design. This warmly decorated meeting place is filled with historical and meaningful reminders of the history of Federal Lodge and its relationship to the abiding history of mankind and the Town of Watertown.