Home Lodge No. 370 A. F. & A. M.

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During the erection of the State Capitol Building, a number of Masons working on the structure decided there was need for a lodge in East Des Moines. The work on the Capitol would bring many skilled laborers to the city and the vicinity would increase in population.


Application was made to the Grand Lodge of Iowa, with the recommendations of Pioneer Lodge No. 22 and Capital Lodge No. 110. Dispensation was granted January 12, 1876, by Most Worshipful Henry R. Rothert, Grand Masters of Masons in Iowa.

The First Meeting

The first stated meeting of Home lodge (under dispensation) was held January 17, 1876, with the following twenty-four members present: W.M. Brunton, W.M.; J.W. Crawshaw, S.W.;Hugh Dusey, J.W.;D. Tisdale, Treasurer; L.E. Ayers,Secretary; J.F. Burgess, S.D.; H. Cunningham, J.D.;James Allen, S.S.; Wm Langley, J.S., D.W. Johnson, Tyler; C.D. Coddington, J.S. Sayer, D.E. Perkins, L.D. Swainson, W.P. Gulick, F.W. Dean, J.B. Duff, C.S. Brinkley, N.W. Smith, John Anderson, Jacob Smith, J.N. Thomas, J.E. Binkley, and W.R.


Most of these men who made application for the charter were operative as well as speculative Masons. A bit of interesting history is that the Lodge was opened with working tools used by these brethren. Working tools were later made and presented to the Lodge. D.W. Johnson made the platforms, altar, pedestals and columns. Nathan Smith made the plumb, square and level and purchased a trowel. Howard Cunningham made the large columns. D.E. Perkins presented a very large heating stove. Wm Clark, James Allen and Wm Langley each made perfect ashlars for the three columns. James B. Crawshaw made all of the jewels.

The Name "Home Lodge"

The original name suggested was “Centennial” because of the date of birth of this new Lodge. However, this name was used before dispensation was granted and one of the members casually remarked, “Well, we are glad to have a HOME” This casual remark was a splendid suggestion and was voted as the name of the lodge.

The Charter

A charter was granted June 6, 1876, and the following officers were elected and appointed to offices: W.M. Brunton, W.M.; James R. Crawshaw, S.W.; C.S. Binkley, J.W.;D. Tisdale, Treasurer; L.E. Ayers, Secretary; D.E. Perkins, S.D.; H. Cunningham, J.D.; James Allen, S.S.; Wm Langley, J.S.; D.W. Johnson, Tyler.

The First Candidates

The first candidates to be elected and receive the degrees were George W. Ward, who was made a Mason March 15, 1876, passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft April 12, 1876, and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason June 23, 1876, and Jacob Zeh, who was made a Mason March 20, 1876, passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft April 12, 1876, and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason June 26, 1876.

The First Meeting Place

The first meeting place was in the Odd Fellows Hall in East Des Moines, where meetings were held until 1877. Then for two years the meeting place was on East Fifth and Walnut, until April 3, 1879, when a hall was rented in the Goldstone Building on East Fifth Street, between walnut and locust Streets. On August 14, 1884, a hall was rented from Mr. D,B. Stubbs on east Locust, between Fourth and Fifth Streets. A lease was made for quarters in the knights Of Pythias Hall, 502 E. Locust, on March 14, 1901, were meetings were held until a new temple was completed.

The New Temple, 603-605 E. Locust

Option was obtained on the property at 603-605 East Locust Street, February 5, 1910.

The Corner Stone

The corner stone for new temple was laid by the Most Worshipful Grand Master Frank Seward Moses on September 21, 1915.

The Dedication of the Temple

The dedication of the Temple to the services of Masonry was on April 3, 1916, by The Most Worshipful Frank Seward Moses, Grand master of Masons in Iowa. This was followed by the presentation of the building to the officers and members of Home Lodge No. 370 A.F. & A.M. by the building committee, composed of William Koch, Chairman, L.H. Cohen, L.A. Dunker, and R .M. J. Coleman.

Addendum 1979

The 35 years following the dedication of the Temple our country was involved in two world wars, a very serious economic depression in the 1930’s and it was 1979 before a working committee Rex E. Evans, PM , and Robert W. Brooks, PM. Was appointed to update the Lodge History.

At the Stated Communications August 9, 1962, the membership expressed their continuing faith in East Des Moines and its future by voting to invest up to $45, 000. CASH to modernize the temple at 603 East Locust with a new rose-granite and aluminum front entrance, provide new lounges on the street level, second and third floors; complete with new carpeting, furniture, drapes; rewire the entire building; install an elevator; acoustical ceiling; public address system; and modernizing the dining room and other areas of the Temple building. Changes to update the Temple building continued as a “work in progress” project until we vacated the Locust Street property.

The 1962 project appropriately named “Operation face-lift” progressed generally as planed and was completed with all the bills paid, thanks to the cooperation of many hardworking, dedicated members, friends and businesses.

Consolidation - Ancient Craft Lodge No. 657 A.F. & A.M.

In  November, 1992 Ancient Craft Lodge No. 657 consolidated with Home Lodge No. 370 and their members were whole heartily received into Home Lodge.Things were good at Home Lodge No. 370 during the 1990’s. In March of 1999, the building adjacent to our Temple facility collapsed causing major damage to our building. The membership had to decide whether to repair the Temple at 603 E. Locust, or find another suitable Temple facility. The lodge decided to rent space at the Masonic Temple at 1011 Locust Street until a suitable building was located. The Trustee’s found a vacant building in the community of Pleasant Hill. The Lodge voted to purchase the building, and in May 0f 2001, and under the direction of Worshipful Master. Guy H. Freeman, a Committee of WB W.L. Freeman; Trustee, and PM’s R.E. Tharp Sr.; D.N. Nelson; J.L. Collins, lead a building construction committee, under the close eye of Past Master Marion L. Charlton. Many members participated in the construction process, and worked with great pride in completing the building into a beautiful Masonic Temple facility which we all can now call “HOME”, The new temple Corner Stone was laid by Most Worshipful Grand Master Alfred L. Jensen on April 19, 2002. A Lodge Dedication Ceremony followed the Corner Stone Ceremony . On behalf of all Lodge members, Worshipful Master John D. Ruhland acknowledged lodge presentation, and a memorable day was had by all in attendance.

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