Beulah Lodge - Free and Accepted Masons

Philanthropic Lodge No. 36 (1829 – 1835)

Little is known about this lodge, what we do know for certain is Philanthropic Lodge No. 36 was chartered in 1829 and its charter was revoked in 1835; however, the official records, retained by Grand Lodge are unavailable to officially reveal reasons for revocation.

Mt Vernon Lodge No 163 F.& A.M (1854 – 1889)

Posey County Courthouse (1854 - 1867)

Mt. Vernon Lodge under Dispensation, Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Indiana, organized March 29th, 1854, by virtue of the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Henry C. Lawrence's issuance on March 11th, 1854, of said dispensation. When Indiana's Grand Lodge met, May 15th, 1854, for their regular annual meeting, Mt. Vernon was given a Charter, becoming Mt. Vernon Lodge No. 163, F.&A.M. The first Lodge Master was Charles Fitch, Senior Warden (John Barter, Senior Warden and Thomas Newman, Junior Warden, holding their first lodge under the Charter on May 24th, 1854.

Mt. Vernon Lodge No. 163 met in the Posey County Courthouse, occupied a hall on the West side of Main St. near Water St. They were an active and growing lodge recognizing their lodge was becoming inadequate for their needs, set out to build a new Masonic Hall in 1867. An original drawing of this new Masonic Hall, which was located on 2nd St. hangs in the library of Beulah Lodge No. 578 F. & A.M, in Mt. Vernon, Indiana.

Masonic Hall Building (1867 – 1889)

The Masonic Hall Company erected the Masonic Hall building in 1867 at a cost of $28,000. They in turn gave the Masonic Lodge a Fifty Year lease to the third floor of the building starting from June 30th, 1869 and expiring on June 30th, 1919. Not only did this new structure house the Mt. Vernon Lodge No. 163 but also the Mt. Vernon Post office relocated to the Masonic Hall Building from its humble beginnings in a house, built in 1818, by Jesse Y. Welborn, the first Postmaster in Mt. Vernon. Below is an article excerpt from “The Evansville Journal” describing the activities on the day the first corner stone was laid for the Masonic Hall Building dated September 26th, 1867.

The Masonic Hall Company went bankrupt, the owners of the Masonic Hall Building, and the property sold at auction for $5,260. A deed from Elijah M. Spencer, assignee of Masonic Hall Company (Bankrupt) to Michael Harlem, said deed bearing the date of January 9, 1880. It was stipulated in said deed that it is subject to a lease for thirty-nine (39) years on the third story of said building, executed by said bankrupt to Lodge No. 163 F. & A. M. of Mt. Vernon, Indiana (Recorded in Deed Record No. 17, Page 540). Mr. Harlem intended to remodel the building into a "Proper Theater" and the building's name changed from “Masonic Hall” to the “Mt. Vernon Opera House”. A building of social activity, hosting vaudeville, dances, boxing matches, and eventually used as a meeting place for the Indiana National Guard, Mt. Vernon High School played their first basketball game on the second floor.

The Charter of Mt. Vernon Lodge No. 163 was annulled in 1889, and 24 of the Mt. Vernon brothers petition the Grand Master to organize a "New" lodge, named Beulah Lodge. With the petition granted the formation of said lodge Under Dispensation, dated June 24, 1889, when at the Grand Lodge’s annual meeting in May 27th, 1890, granted a Charter to Beulah Lodge No. 578, F. & A. M. of the State of Indiana.

Beulah Lodge No. 578 F. & A.M. (1889 – Current)

The Masonic Temple - Hovey House (1871 – 1921)

Alvin P. Hovey, a brother Mason, general Statesmen, and only Governor of the State of Indiana from Mount Vernon, purchased land from Charles and Catharine Leunig in 1871, found on the southeast corners of 4th and Walnut, facing the town square of Mount Vernon. After extensive renovations Governor Hovey’s family and his descendants lived in the residence until Juliette Menzies Von Behren, his granddaughter, sold it to Beulah Lodge No. 578 F.&A.M on March 17th, 1921 for $12,500.

Beulah Lodge No. 578 and Hovey House (1921 - 1991)

After the purchase of the Hovey House in 1921 plans for an addition to the back of the house for a dinning/all purpose room on the main level and a proper lodge room on the second level. The first corner stone was laid beginning this chapter of the Hovey house on June 14th, 1922. Once the project was completed the Grand Lodge was called for the purpose of dedicating the New Masonic Home, on November 14th, 1922, at which time ceremonies were performed in due and ancient form.

Beulah Lodge remained located on the corner of 4th and Walnut for 70 years, until a 2 acre, plot of land was acquired by “The Friends of Beulah Lodge” and bequeathed to the lodge for a future site. The Lodge voted to undertake the building of a new home, contingent upon the sale of their present lodge. Plans were drawn and submitted to the lodge and by late 1991, the new lodge stood, and we said farewell and thank you to the Hovey House, our home of 70 years.