The Elk Mountain Masonic Lodge No. 118, a well-established Freemasonic fraternity in Steamboat Springs, has relocated to a new home after selling its century-old downtown property. The new premises were dedicated on April 22, 2023, in the presence of over 40 Masons, including representatives from the Grand Lodge of Colorado. The occasion was hailed as a “wonderful celebration” by Ray Selbe, a Mason since the 1980s.
Freemasons, as part of fraternal organizations, have a rich history that traces back to the stone masons’ guilds of the late 13th century. The Elk Mountain Masonic Lodge received its temporary charter in 1902 and secured permanent recognition in 1904. It had been situated at 111 Eighth Street for 102 years before the property was sold last year due to the burdensome cost of maintenance and increasing insurance rates. The fraternity, currently with a membership of around 35 to 40, found it challenging to cover costs through dues alone.
The decision to sell the downtown building, which had been the lodge’s upstairs home for over a century, was not an easy one. “We couldn’t afford it anymore,” explained Worshipful Master David Moran. It’s worth noting that the lower floor of the building, which housed various businesses over the years, was not owned by the Masonic Lodge.
The search for a new location led to a unique solution offered by Selbe. As a practicing blacksmith, he had been building a shop to showcase his blacksmithing tools collection. When the need for a new lodge location arose, he proposed constructing a mezzanine in his shop as a meeting place for the members. The new 900-square-foot Elk Mountain Masonic Lodge now resides on this mezzanine level within the 1,800-square-foot blacksmith shop on Selbe’s ranch at 25245 County Road 42.
Moran highlighted that the new setup had attracted attention from Masons across the country due to its unique nature. “A lodge really isn’t a building; a lodge is the Masons who make up the building,” he emphasized. The focus of Freemasonry, according to Moran, is not about religious beliefs, but rather the creation of a distinct lifestyle through education, upholding moral standards, charity, and community involvement. In Colorado, Freemasons actively support band camps, scholarships, and children’s identification programs, welcoming men, women, couples, and children into their organizations.
The completion of the lodge brought joy to Selbe, not only for providing a new meeting space for the Masons but also for ensuring the continuity of the fraternity in Steamboat Springs. He fondly remembered his family’s tradition of Masonry, saying, “My grandfather, my dad, and uncles were all Masons. There were a lot of memories in that downtown location, but now we’ll make new memories”.