The History of St. John’s Lodge No. 9 in Seattle

Our beloved lodge was established in 1860, when the unincorporated pioneer town of Seattle counted just 250 residents among 20 families. There were no newspapers, hospitals, or cemeteries in Seattle at that time, and just one church. Our lodge’s founders and early members were true pioneers, including prominent businessmen, bankers, and government officials, who shaped the fabric of our community through their leadership and example.

Seattle Pioneers

  • Doc Maynard, who helped build Pioneer Square (then called Maynard Town), and who proposed naming our young city after his friend, Chief Seattle, and who, as a doctor, tended to the sick and needy in early Seattle, including white man and Indian alike, and who was King County’s first Justice of the Peace, and who has been called “The Man Who Invented Seattle”, and who is laid to rest at the highest point on Capitol Hill
  • Dexter Horton, who was a true rags-to-riches pioneer of early Seattle, who started out grubbing stumps, and who was eventually trusted to keep safe the money pouches of his fellow pioneers, and who thereafter founded Seattle’s first bank, which became the Dexter Horton National Bank (which was a forerunner of Seafirst Bank, which was acquired by Bank of America), and who was the first president of the Seattle YMCA, and who served on the Board of Regents of the Territorial University, and for whom the downtown landmark Dexter Horton Building is named
  • Henry Smith, who was also a minister, and who spoke the local Indian language fluently, and who translated Chief Seattle’s famous Lament, and who was the first superintendent of King County public schools, and after whom Smith Cove is named, where Piers 90 and 91 are today
  • Andrew Piper, who was an artist and confectioner, and was the creator of Piper’s Dream Cakes, an early Seattle favorite, and who was a Seattle City Council member, and whose properties on Lake Washington and Puget Sound later became Magnuson Park and Carkeek Park, and who planted Piper Orchard, and after whom Pipers Creek and Piper’s Canyon are named
  • John Webster, who was a blacksmith and Territorial Legislator, and who was the first Master of St. John’s Lodge No. 9, and who traveled to lodge by canoe, crossing Puget Sound and Elliott Bay each month from his home at Port Madison, Bainbridge Island

Territorial and State Leadership

  • John M.E. Atkinson, Robert Abrams, Joseph Foster, Timothy D. Hinckley, Moses R. Maddocks, Henry Smith, and John Webster, who were Territorial Legislators, and who contributed greatly to the development of our territory and our state
  • Orange Jacobs, who was Chief Justice of the Territorial Supreme Court, who helped secure statehood as a U.S. Congressman, and who was Seattle Mayor, and who was a Territorial Legislator, and who was on the Superior Court of King County, and who was Treasurer of the Board of Regents of the University
  • Washington Rutter, who was a member of the first Washington State House of Representatives, and who was later a State Senator
  • John Harte McGraw, who was the second Governor of Washington State, and who was King County sheriff, Seattle city marshal, and Seattle chief of police
  • William Henry White, who was known as “Warhorse Bill”, and who was U.S. District Attorney, and who became a Justice of the State Supreme Court
  • Edmond S. Meany, who was a State Legislator, and who was instrumental in various legislative reforms that promoted the University of Washington into what it is today

University Stewardship

  • John Webster, who, as a legislator, petitioned to site the Territorial University in Seattle
  • Robert Abrams, who, as a legislator, helped secure appropriations for the Territorial University
  • Daniel Bagley, who has been called “The Father of the University,” and who led the commission to select the original university site downtown, and who secured funding for the first university buildings downtown, and who was a founding member of the Board of Regents of the Territorial University, and after whom Bagley Hall is named
  • Ossian J. Carr, who, with Oliver Shorey, carved the four columns which originally graced the entrance to the university downtown, and which now live in the Sylvan Theater on the current University campus, and which are depicted on the University’s official seal
  • Asa Shinn Mercer, who was the first president and first teacher of the Territorial University downtown
  • Edmond S. Meany, who, as a State legislator, was responsible for relocating the University to its current site between Lake Washington and Lake Union, and for reorganizing the University, and for providing accreditation for high schools, and for providing free tuition for state residents, and who is responsible for salvaging the Four Columns from the university building downtown, and for naming them Loyalty, Industry, Faith, and Enthusiasm (LIFE), and who was a professor of botany and history at the University, and after whom Meany Hall is named
  • Joseph Marion Taylor, who was the chair of the Mathematics and Astronomy departments, and who laid the cornerstone for the first building on the current University campus
  • William Corliss, who promoted permanent structures for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and world’s fair of 1909, which resulted in permanent improvements to the University of Washington campus

Seattle Mayors

  • Henry Atkins, who was Seattle’s first mayor, appointed by the State Legislature in 1869, and elected in 1870
  • John Tenney Jordan, who was elected in 1871, and appointed in 1873
  • Moses R. Maddocks, who was elected in 1873
  • Beriah Brown, who was elected in 1878
  • Orange Jacobs, who was elected in 1879
  • John Leary, who was elected in 1884
  • William H. Shoudy, who was elected in 1886
  • John Franklin Miller, who was elected in 1908

Neighborhood Developers

  • Pioneer Square, which was platted and developed by Doc Maynard, when it was then called Maynard Town
  • Beacon Hill, which was platted by Edward Hanford, when it was then called “Holgate and Hanford Hill,” and which was later further developed by Charles Plummer
  • Capitol Hill, which was named by James A. Moore, and many of whose various blocks were platted and developed by James A. Moore, Robert Abrams, Frank Pontius, and Jacob Furth
  • The University District, including Brooklyn and University Heights, and including the eastern portion of what we now call Northlake, which was then called Latona, each of which was platted and developed by James A. Moore
  • Ballard, which was developed by John Leary and his West Coast Improvement Company, on lands owned in part by William Rankin Ballard, and which was incorporated as a city 1890, and was annexed to Seattle in 1907
  • Phinney Ridge, whose Woodland Park and adjacent neighborhoods were developed Guy Carleton Phinney, including the city’s first menagerie, which was later bought by the city, and which was later developed into Woodland Park Zoo
  • Renton, which was founded in 1875 by Erasmus Smithers after he discovered coal there

Regional Significance

  • George Carmack, who staked the first gold claim in the Yukon in 1896, triggering the Klondike Gold Rush, and helping put Seattle on the national map
  • Sol Simpson, whose Simpson Logging Company was one of the leading businesses of the territory, and who founded the Puget Sound Timbermen’s Association, and whose estate, mostly in timberlands, was one of the largest in Washington at the time

Seattle Landmarks

  • Bagley Hall, which is named after Daniel Bagley, and whose original building (now known as Architecture Hall) was built for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, and whose current building was built during the Great Depression by the federal Public Works Administration
  • The Bonney-Watson Company, which was established in 1868 by Oliver Shorey, and later owned by Lyman Bonney and Henry “Harry” Watson, and which is Seattle’s oldest continuously operating business
  • The Dexter Horton Building, which is named after Dexter Horton, and is a 15-story downtown office building and historical landmark
  • The Egyptian Theater on Capitol Hill, which was built as the Seattle Masonic Temple in 1915, and which was occupied by St. John’s Lodge No. 9, among others, from 1916 to 1983
  • The Four Columns of the University of Washington, which were carved by Ossian J. Carr (originally with capitals by Oliver Shorey, now replaced), and which originally graced the entrance to the Territorial University downtown, and which were salvaged and named by Edmond S. Meany as Loyalty, Industry, Faith, and Enthusiasm (LIFE), and which now live in the Sylvan Theater on the current University campus, and which are depicted on the University’s official seal
  • Greenwood Masonic Center, which was built in 1924 as the Greenwood Masonic Temple, and which has been home to St. John’s Lodge No. 9 since 2005
  • Lake View Cemetery, which was established in 1872 by members of St. John’s Lodge No. 9 as the Seattle Masonic Cemetery, and which is the final resting place of Seattle Masons and non-Masons alike, including many listed on this page
  • Meany Hall, which contains Meany Theater, which were named after Edmond S. Meany following a 1909 editorial campaign by the campus student newspaper, The Daily
  • Meydenbauer Center, which is named after William Meydenbauer, and which is a prominent convention center in Bellevue
  • The Moore Theater and Moore Hotel, which were built by and named after James A. Moore, and whose theater is the oldest still-active theater in Seattle, and whose hotel is also still active, and which together are on the National Register of Historic Places
  • The Nordstrom flagship store downtown, which was the former Frederick & Nelson department store, which was named after Donald Edwin Frederick

Seattle Firsts

  • John Arthur, who was the first president of the Washington State Bar Association
  • Daniel Bagley, who was the first person to arrive in Seattle on a wheeled vehicle, a two-horse buggy, and who established the first Methodist Protestant church in Seattle, and who was for some time the only minister in Seattle
  • Hillory Butler, who was a lumberman, and who helped build the first church in Seattle
  • Orion O. Denny, who was the first white male child born in Seattle (the son of Arthur A. and Mary Denny)
  • John Lyon, who established the first telegraphic communications in the Northwest, and who served as postmaster, and who established the letter carrier system in Seattle
  • John Franklin Miller, who was Seattle’s first prosecuting attorney
  • J.F.T. Mitchell, who established the first shipyard on Puget Sound
  • Carrie Palmer, who was the first woman admitted to the bar in the State of Washington, and who was the daughter of Alfred Palmer
  • Rufus Willard, who was the first non-resident of England elected a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons

Neighborhoods and Nature

  • Ballard, which is named after William R. Ballard
  • Georgetown, which is named after George Horton
  • Meydenbauer Bay and Meydenbauer Creek, which are named after William Meydenbauer
  • Phinney Ridge and Carleton Park, which are named after Guy Carleton Phinney
  • Pipers Creek, Piper’s Canyon, and Piper Orchard, which are named after Andrew Piper
  • Smith Cove, which is named after Henry Smith

Seattle Streets

  • Bagley Avenue, which is named after Daniel Bagley
  • Blanchard Street, which is named after John M. Blanchard
  • Hanford Street, which is named after Edward Hanford
  • Horton Street, which is named after Dexter Horton
  • Howell Street, which is named after Jefferson Davis Howell
  • Leary Way, which is named after John Leary
  • Maynard Street, which is named after Doc Maynard
  • McGraw Street, which is named after John Harte McGraw
  • Phinney Way, which is named after Guy Carleton Phinney
  • Smith Street, which is named after Henry Smith

Seattle Public Schools

  • Daniel Bagley Elementary, which is named after Daniel Bagley
  • Frantz Coe Elementary, which is named after Frantz Coe
  • McClure Middle, which is named after Worth McClure
  • Meany Middle, which is named after Edmond S. Meany
  • Mercer Middle, which is named after Asa Shinn Mercer
  • Casper W. Sharples Junior High (now Aki Kurose Middle), which was named after Casper W. Sharples
  • Ballard High, which was named after the then-city and now-neighborhood of Ballard, which is named after William R. Ballard

The history of St. John’s Lodge No. 9 is interwoven with that of the city that we love and call home, and will forever be. Join us!

Recognized by the State of Washington as a Pioneer Corporation, under Territorial incorporation, St. John’s Lodge No. 9 is among the oldest continuously operating corporations in the State, and is the oldest to have been incorporated in Seattle.