Page 22 - Jan 2018 MFM
P. 22

Montana Freemason                                              January 2018                                 Volume 94   Number 1
                             What Makes A Lodge Stand Out
                                           Gallatin Lodge No. 6

      In  1864,  Gallatin  Lodge  No.  6,                                    sometimes used this meeting hall. The
     Bozeman,  Montana  installed  its  fi rst                                Masons rented the fi rst fl oor to various
     “Lodge Room Carpet.”  The carpet had                                    businesses, including Bozeman National
     been  made  in  England;  the  weavers                                  Bank.
     used  a  Wilton  Loom  weave  and  270
     yards  of  material.  Once  completed                                    The exterior of the building has been
     the  masterpiece  was  shipped  to  the                                 modernized, the Masons still meet on the
     U.S.  and  then  placed  on  a  steamboat                               second  fl oor.  The  horse  sign,  installed
     and transported up the Missouri River                                   in 1968 atop the marquee to advertise a
     to  Fort  Benton,  Montana,  then  freighted  by  mule-drawn  fi rst-fl oor clothing store, is now a Bozeman landmark.
     wagons through Helena to Bozeman. In April of 1864, the
     carpet arrived in 27-inch pieces. It was sewn together and   So back to the Carpet, our story continues. Members of
     laid in 3 1/2 days by Ross McMullen for a fee of $14.00. The  Gallatin  Lodge  were  able  to  identify  that  the  carpet  had
     fi nal cost was $433.48, including shipping from England.   been manufactured by Wilton Carpets and that they were
                                                           not only still in operation, but they had the original carpet
      One  hundred  and  fi fty-three  years  later  in  2017,  they  pattern. A number of photographs are shown. Also, 4 photos
     determined it was time to replace it. But in the decision to  of the old carpet and a photo of our new carpet on the loom
     replace the Lodge Carpet they wanted to use the same design  in Britain.
     originally installed - no small task. Today the replacement
     cost of the carpet was $30,702.00.                                                    The   following   was
                                                                                         provided by Mike King of
      Virginia  City  No.1,  Montana  No.  2  and  Helena  No.  3                        Wilton Carpets:
     were originally Chartered by other Grand Lodges. Nevada                                 “Photographs  of  the
     No. 4, was Under Dispensation by  another Grand Lodge                               carpet on the loom. The
     and  surrendered  their  Charter  in  1888.  They  formed  the                      attached shows the border
     Grand Lodge of Montana.                                                             design for the Lodge being
                                                                                         woven on our loom 10.
      Gallatin  Lodge  was  the  fi rst  Lodge  entirely  created  by                     Loom 10 is one of our two
     the Grand Lodge of Montana. It received a Dispensation to                           Wilton looms and dates
     start a Lodge on February 17, 1866, followed by Morning                             back to around 1915. The
     Star No. 5 and Diamond City No. 7 on February 24, 1866.                             loom is really like a very
     All three (No. 5, 6 and 7 were actually Charted on October                          old,  vintage,  car  but  still
     2, 1866.                                                                            produces fantastic carpet.
                                                                                         It is maintained to a high
      From  the  start,  Gallatin  Lodge  had  internal  problems,                       standard and is regularly
     with the Confederate and the Union sympathizers at odds to                          used for, high end, carpet,
     the extent that Bozeman Lodge No. 18 was formed in 1872  such as the Lodge. The previous job on the loom was for our
     for the benefi t of the Union sympathizers. As a result, both  Palace of Westminster, and the next job will be The Royal
     lodges  initially  struggled  with  having  small  membership  Opera House and both of these are also very prestigious
     numbers. Just down the street from Gallatin Lodge No. 6,  projects.
     Bozeman Lodge No. 18 also continues in operation. As a
     result of these problems, N. P. Langford, Grand Master in   Given the uniqueness of the loom, we only use our most
     1869-1870, arrested the Charter of Gallatin No. 6. Citing  experienced weavers as it takes many years for a weaver
     the continued discord within the Lodge. This resulted in the  to be trained in Wilton weaving. Our weavers earn their
     Lodge voting to surrender their Charter. The Charter was  colors on the Axminster looms and after a period of approx.
     returned by Grand Lodge on November 2, 1870. Resulting  7 years we select the best weaver to train on the Wilton
     in another fi rst, this is the only occurrence in 152 years in  looms. Once somebody is trained, they never like to leave,
     Montana where a Lodge surrendered its Charter received it  and it can be a lifetime before a vacancy becomes available;
     back for continued operation.                         for instance, Alan and Mike are making the carpet for the
                                                           Lodge, and they are both over 70 years of age and have
      Gallatin Masonic Lodge No. 6 building was built in 1883  approx. 100 years’ experience between them!”
     for an estimated $20,000. The one of the grand buildings
     erected  during  the  early  1880s  following  the  arrival  of   It all began in 1690, and now, in 2017, Wilton is one of
     the railroad, this Masonic temple was constructed despite  the  only  companies  to  still  design  and  weave  wool-rich
     an  earlier  schism  among  Bozeman’s  Masons  caused  by  commercial  carpets  in  the  UK.  Situated  in  the  Wiltshire
     opposing  Civil  War  sympathies.  Nevertheless,  the  two  town of the same name, the historical and spiritual home
     lodges  remained  friendly,  and  the  Bozeman  Lodge  also  of carpet weaving for nearly 400 years, Wilton has come
     Page 22
   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27