Cincinnatus Lodge, A. F. & A. M. The History of Our Lodge Walter Dean of New Marlborough on December 8, 1795 presented a twenty-one signature petition to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts requesting a charter for a new lodge. Grand Master Paul Revere signed the charter for Cincinnatus Lodge, Berkshire County's fourth lodge after Franklin, Evening Star, and Berkshire.
Brother Dean was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and so were many of his fellow petitioners.
The lodge held its first meeting at Brother Joel Brigham's home on January 1, 1796, with an installation of officers and a procession to the village church. The following week the first meeting for work was held, and two candidates were proposed, accepted and initiated.
Friday night, on or before the full moon, became the regular meeting night.
In 1797 meeting were held half the year in Great Barrington, half in New Marlborough. Three years later the lodge moved permanently to the larger town.
Cincinnatus Lodge had a number of meeting places in Great Barrington: Captain Pynchon's, a brick building on Stockbridge Road; and David Leavenworth's commercial building among them. The lodge met for four years in Sheffield, after the lodge there ceased, then took quarters in an upper floor of the Miller House, later known as the Barrington House. It moved to the Whiting Block in 1864, remaining there until 1896 when it shifted to the Berkshire Block.
Freemasons came from as far away as Adams and Copake, N. Y., to attend the Cincinnatus Festival of St. John the Baptist on June 24, 1858. A line was formed, headed by the band, and some 125 visitors were escorted to the Housatonic Agricultural Society fairgrounds by members where exercises were held - Brother Increase Sumner delivered the oration - then counter marched to the Berkshire House for an outdoor banquest.
Cincinnatus Lodge, which had a membership of 150, marked its centennial on June 24, 1896 with a grand celebration. "All the business blocks and private residences were elaborately decorated, and flags and banners were hung across the business streets at regular intervals," described R. W. Orlando Bedwell. "In the center of the balcony of Town Hall a large oil painting of the Goddess of Liberty was the central figure; on the Berkshire block a life size portrait of George Washington in his Masonic regalia; underneath that, in a frame of red, white and blue, the principal insignia of Masonry, the Square, and Compass on the open Bible."
Membership rose to 300 in 1920, but in recent years has held stable at about half that number.
Several lodge members have served higher position. James F. Watson, to mention one, in 1945 was elected Junior Grand Warden and became the only permanent member of Grand Lodge that Cincinnatus Lodge ever had.
in 1949 acquired the Walker Hall property on Main Street, near
the Post Office, and after a successful fundraising effort,
dedicated its present building on May 24, 1958. The
mortgage was burned in 1970.