THE HISTORY OF LODGE #179
In March 1865, a group of sojourning Masonic brethren met at the store of William Heeser on Main Street, Mendocino, to take initiatory steps towards the formation of a Lodge Home of their own. These hardy pioneers, lumbermen, farmers, etc. were proud of their little town of Mendocino with its three good hotels, its lumber mill and its stores. Its forests to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. A second meeting of the brethren on the 3rd of July, a motion was made and carried to name the lodge “Mendocino Lodge”. The group nominated officers and later carried a motion to petition the Grand Lodge of the State of California for dispensation to organize and carry on the work of a Masonic Lodge in Mendocino. The petition for dispensation originally made to the Most Worshipful William Caldwell Belcher was granted October 23, 1865 by Grand Master Gilbert B. Clairborne. The first year was a busy one for the new lodge and its 37 charter members. Nine meetings were held during the month of December 1865. The brethren met in the loft of a building owned by William Heeser. On December 2, 1865, the first degree was conferred, and the first candidate was raised on Christmas Day, Brother Samuel Clark. At the stated meeting of February 24, 1866, it was decided to build a new hall, the same hall and building in use today. Brother Erick Albertson, the lodge #179’s first worshipful master was elected to build the hall for a cost of $1000.00. To finance this undertaking the brethren were hard put to it, paying their dues five years in advance, and selling stock to themselves for $l00.00 a share. In 1872 a bank loan for $2000.00 was negotiated. Brother Albertson was nearly six years in building the hall, going ahead with the work as fast as the finances of the lodge would permit. In addition to the original $1000.00; the total stock sold amounted to $3860.70. At first the lodge was lighted by candle-light. Carpets could not be had or afforded therefor sawdust was used on the floor. The lodge owned a few chairs for -the various stations and hard benches were provided for sitting of the brethren. In 1914, the first electric lights for the lodge were from power generated at a plant near the lumber mill and provided for 12¢ a kilowatt. Some of the brackets for the first oil lamps are still mounted on the Lodge walls to this day. The original Bible is still in use. It came from Tyro Lodge, Dry Town, Amador County. The hard work of the early brethren have provided a Lodge Hall that still is one of the most beautiful in the state. Brother Albertson stands out especially for seven years of continuous hard work, much of which was without personal compensation and was four times (1865, 1866, 1867 and 1869) Master of the Mendocino Lodge. It was Brother Albertson who carved the beautiful statuary which adorns the outside of the building and the beautiful carving on the Lodge #179’s interior is the work of his hands. He worked at the lumber mill and had a shack on the beach where he spent all of his spare time doing this work, truly a work of love. · The lodge’s first Senior Warden William Heeser, many years Secretary of the Lodge, donated the land for the building. He was a licensed surveyor, owned a store, published a newspaper, ran a bank, and built a road from Ukiah to Mendocino. All available records point to the fact that the early Masonic brethren were quite public-spirited citizens and practiced out of the Lodge those great virtues inculcated in it.