Estimated 300 Masons in Butte, Montana

More than 300 people are expected to attend this weekend’s 147th annual Grand Lodge of Montana Ancient Free and Accepted Masons at the Copper King Inn.

It’s the third time in 147 years that Butte has been selected as the location for the state’s Grand Lodge, according to Terry Davis, the Butte Lodge No. 22’s secretary and chairman of the local arrangements committee. Davis has been busy getting things ready for what he said would be a highly attended Grand Lodge.

The convention will include between 25 and 30 dignitaries from Masonic districts in other states. Members of the oldest fraternity in the world will meet to discuss finances, listen to speeches, and pass new legislation for the district’s lodges. The meeting kicked off Thursday with a Master Masons barbecue at the Masonic Temple, followed by a banquet on Friday. Saturday will include installation of officers and a reception.

At one time, Davis said, Butte had seven Masonic lodges. But the two remaining have absorbed the membership of the original lodges.

Worshipful Master Eric Hyatt said the Butte Lodges give away free bicycles to elementary school children in the “Bikes for Books” program and also donate $25,000 to $30,000 in scholarships each year. He wrote in a press release that it has been more than 30 years since the last Grand Lodge was held in Butte.

Next year’s Grand Lodge will take place in Polson, beginning on June 26.