History of Livingston Lodge
In 1884, the Grand Master of Masons in Montana reported that during the year he granted a dispensation for a new lodge in Livingston, MT on December 25, 1884. The first Worshipful Master under the dispensation was Henry W. Bingham.
The very first meeting of the lodge under dispensation was held according to Brother Charles A. Burg, in an upstairs room in the old Henry Frank Building on North Main Street. Then the lodge bought equipment and located upstairs at 131 South Main Street. While here the lodge room, work done, etc. was inspected by the Grand Junior Warden, James Hathaway, sometime before the meeting of Grand Lodge that year.
The following year, at Grand Lodge October 7, 1885, Grand Master Samuel Langhorne reported in part as follows: "From my best information, both Glendive and Livingston Lodges under dispensation have been doing well and I trust will receive their charters at this Grand Lodge." The charters were duly granted that same day, and Livingston Lodge #32 was formed. The charter membership was 35 men with 27 Master Masons, 2 Fellow Craft and 6 Entered Apprentices.
The first Worshipful Master elected to Livingston Lodge #32 after receiving the charter was Fred W. Wright. The Hon. Frederick Wright was born in Buffalo, NY in 1844. When President Abraham Lincoln made his first call for volunteers to put down the Rebellion, Mr. Wright, then only 17 years old was among the patriotic young men who responded to the call. He enlisted in the NY infantry in May 1861. After two years, he re-enlisted in the Calvary where he served as a non-commissioned officer and was a participant in many of the hard-fought battles in the Civil War.
Following the war, Mr. Wright moved west, and after brief stops in the Dakota Territory and Minnesota, he ended up in Livingston, Montana in 1882. He was engaged in the drug business and served as the postmaster, county treasurer, and was elected State Treasurer in 1892.
Early Past Masters of Livingston Lodge
Livingston Lodge and Yellowstone Park
Lodge of Yellowstone Park
In 1894 Livingston Lodge started a movement to gain jurisdiction over Yellowstone National Park, as its temporary residents were geographically isolated from any other lodge in Montana or Wyoming. Since that time, Livingston Lodge #32 has had a long and rich history with the Park, and has helped many Masons, either living or stationed in the Park to connect with their brethren.
Dedication of the Gateway Arch In 1903, when President Theodore Roosevelt was visiting
Yellowstone Park, the brothers of Livingston Lodge #32 addressed a communication to the President's coordinators in Montana: "The undersigned representatives of Livingston Lodge No. 32, A.F. & A.M. and citizens of Montana and Wyoming, respectfully solicit you to act as a committee to request and invite his Excellency, the President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt, to assist in the ceremonies of laying the corner-stone at the Gardiner Entrance gate to Yellowstone National Park, on April 24, 1903, under Masonic Auspices.
To their delight, the President accepted, and was the central focus of the dedication ceremony presided over by the Grand Lodge of Montana.
When his special train pulled out of Livingston, MT for Yellowstone Park on April 8, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt stood on the rear platform and received the cheers of the crowd, which fairly drowned the music of the Livingston Band. He had expected to make a brief speech from that position, but had yielded to popular demand and spoke instead for 15 minutes from a stage erected in the depot waiting room.