Positioned prominently on Wilton Main Street, the Clinton Masonic Lodge is a striking structure, perched on a hill beside the library. Its curving steps, framed by columns and a brick facade, lead to the entrance. The exterior, like many elements of the lodge, symbolizes Masonry teachings, a reflection of the Freemasons’ influence who funded and constructed the building as a Masonic temple.
A Tradition Continuing Since 1897
The first meeting in the lodge was convened on September 9, 1897, and the building was dedicated on June 16, 1898. The dedication ceremony was grand, featuring a procession of over 200 Masons and a visit from the governor. Inside, the building boasts hand-carved mahogany, and the electricity is controlled from an upstairs closet. The main meeting hall even has a false door that opens to a blank wall, solely for the sake of symmetry.
The Freemasons: A Brotherhood with Secrets
The lodge has remained largely unchanged since its inception, according to the Master of the Lodge, Chris Hutchinson. The Freemasons, known for being one of the oldest and most enigmatic fraternal groups, require members to take an oath of secrecy. Hutchinson explains that while they are not a secret society, they are a society with secrets.
Masons are not solely a charitable organization, but many lodges, including Wilton’s, engage in charitable works. They support local sports teams, provide free Thanksgiving meals, and contribute to other community causes. The organization is not religious but requires members to believe in a monotheistic higher power.
A Fraternity for Men
To become a Freemason, one must be a male over 18 and must inquire about joining. The Masons are a fraternity, and members refer to each other as “brother.” The organization emphasizes connections and equality among members, regardless of their status outside the Masonic hall.
A Rich History
The Clinton Masonic Lodge has a unique history, having only ever been used as a Masonic lodge. Its charter was granted in 1827, and the first meeting was held that September. The lodge faced several challenges, including fires and dormancy, but it was revived, and a member donated funds to build the current Masonic Temple in 1896.
The Clinton Masonic Lodge in Wilton stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Freemasons. Its rich history, charitable works, and commitment to brotherhood make it a fascinating part of the community. For those interested in learning more, the lodge hosts twice-monthly Saturday breakfasts and maintains an online presence through its Facebook page and website.