Malta Lodge #17 History

Downstairs in this building was John A. Thompson, Furniture and Undertaking. Courtesy of Hot Springs County Museum

History of Malta Lodge #17

Excerpt from History of the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Wyoming 1874 -1974.

The city of Thermopolis was founded about 1897 when that area was first settled. It is on the Big Horn River immediately north of the Wind River Canyon somewhat below the point where the Wind River becomes the Big Horn River. It is on the Burlington Railroad extending through Casper and on northward to Billings, Montana. When the town was young and sparsely settled a number of Masonic brethren petitioned the Grand Lodge of Wyoming for a dispensation to form a lodge in this community. The petition was approved and the dispensation granted on December 17, 1900.

View of Early Thermopolis from

At first the Lodge met in rooms in the McCoy Building on Broadway where it remained for some four or five years until a building more suitable for Masonic purposes could be constructed. The lodge room furniture was made by Brother Thompson and two pillars in the West were quite unique, as they were formed by coating iron rods with the spray from the mineral laden waters in the Thermopolis Hot Springs.

This is the photo of the laying of the cornerstone on July 4, 1905. Group Photo. Those identified are; Chas. Fogg, Acting grand Master, Col. J. L. Torrey, Grand Orator. Others in the group include L. J. Duhig, Chas. Ross & John Hande. Courtesy of Hot Springs County Museum

During its early history the Lodge experienced many of the vicissitudes of a frontier town, but always moved onward. The Jurisdiction was sparsely settled and membership grew slowly, but later as the population grew more rapidly and membership increased until in 1924 the Lodge had grown from the original ten to 182. During the Winter of 1904 a building association was formed for the purpose of erecting a Temple for which construction was begun, the cornerstone laid on July 24, 1905, and the structure ready for occupancy the following fall.