Nashville Lodge #135 Free and Accepted Masons

Why a post about the local lodge?  As I was researching the history of the county and the various non-profit organizations, I came across the Facebook Page, the Nashville Lodge website and a link to a rather in-depth history (1851-1962) of the lodge.  The following statement in the history caught my interest:

The history of Nashville Lodge  and Brown County are so inextricably intertwined that in many cases they are one and the same. 

  •  The Nashville Lodge and Eastern Star (women) are among the oldest organizations in the county. Members include elected and appointed officials.

    • The Republic Newspaper, Columbus IN. 2018 Bicentennial Anniversary – Free and Accepted Masons.
      • The Grand Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons of Indiana, which governs all local Masonic lodges in the state, was constituted Jan. 12, 1818, which was 14 months after Indiana was granted statehood in December 1816.
      • With nearly 50,000 Masons in all 92 counties, Indiana has one of the largest memberships of any state in the nation. The current worldwide membership totals 3.6 million members, which includes 1.6 million in North America.

The creation of Brown County State Park in 1929 led to a tourism industry.  From an economic standpoint, the economies of the Town and County diverged.   Nashville (population around  1,000) is dependent on tourism.  Tourism benefits the state through the generation of sales tax. It also benefits businesses that rely on tourism but the average employee wage is among the lowest in the region and state.

The county (population around 15,000) and projected to decline through 2050, is funded primarily by income and property tax.  The majority of the workforce commutes outside the county for the better-paying jobs. The county also attracts a significant number of retirees. This has allowed for a county tax policy of low property and high-income tax. This policy is becoming unsustainable per a  study conducted by a group of master’s degree students from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA):

My curiosity led me to a little research on the history of Freemasonry.  During the research process, I did learn that my fraternal great-grandfather was a Mason as was my maternal grandfather.  I am not aware that any of my cousins became members.  My father’s side of the family was Catholic and the Catholic Church does not support membership in the masons.

Membership Trends.  As of May 16, 2016 – Indiana

  • 1990 – 116,000 members / 514 Lodges
  • 2015 – 56,000 members / 399 Lodges

Grand Lodge of Indiana (1818-2018). Indiana has over 50,000 Masons in almost 400 lodges throughout the state, and they represent men from all walks of life. Masons learn to be better husbands, better fathers, better brothers, and better citizens.

Freemasonry, Secret Organizationwritten by: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

Masonic Myths.   What the Freemasons consider myths are considered as truths by some and has inspired many conspiracy theories which have been made popular by author Dan Brown in his books Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol and his latest book, Inferno.

Christopher Hodapp, author, “Freemasons for Dummies” stated that the Dan Brown books has led to an increase in membership. These books have also led to a surge in “destination tourism” at the locations identified in the books.  Examples:

The design of the Maple Leaf (Brown County) Music Center was also interesting and includes masonic themes?  There has been no coverage yet on the design features of this venue.

Freemasons: Behind the veil of secrecy By   at

Basic Qualifications for Membership: (Reference: Freemasons for Dummies, by Indiana author and Freemason Christoper Hodapp. Freemason for Dummies Blog.

  • You must believe in a Supreme Being.
  • You must be male.
  • You must be joining of your own free will.
  • You must be of lawful age. Depending on the Grand Lodge, this can be anywhere from 18 to 25.
  • You must come recommended by at least two existing Freemasons from the lodge you’re petitioning.
  • You’ll be asked other important questions down the road, before you’re allowed to join a lodge:
    • Are you unbiased by friends and uninfluenced by any mercenary motives? Don’t apply for membership if you think you’ll be using your membership card to get out of a speeding ticket or to network for your business.

    • Do you have a favorable opinion of Freemasonry? You should have a desire for knowledge and a sincere wish to be of service to mankind. If you’re merely curious about what goes on behind locked doors, just read the rest of this book.

    • Do you agree to follow the rules? Nothing especially scary here. Health clubs and city parks have the same requirement.

2018 NETFLIX:  Inside the Freemasons. The history and future of the Freemasons, a fraternal order steeped in both secrecy and tradition.  There are an estimated six million Freemasons in the world. It was started 300 years ago, the first lodge was the United Grand Lodge of England.

Conflict of Interest.  An issue that was raised in England is should Freemasons be required to disclose membership if they undertake some public role, (police, politics, lobby journalists, justice).   The intent of the disclosure is to assure the public that there is not a conflict of interest.  Freemasons are free to disclose their membership.

Dec 8, 2013Inside the secret world of the Freemasons, CBS Sunday Morning.

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