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An 1891 map of the area surrounding the Gold Mine Hotel.

Previous HISTORY pages 1 and 2

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The Gold Hill Masonic Lodge
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The Masons in Gold Hill

I've had many requests for further information about Masonic activity and Secret Societies in the area, so I've done a little poking around and come up with some fine Gold Hill Masonic history fodder.
The discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859 would cause Gold Hill, and the area surrounding it, to become a platform for enormous civic and industrial activities, and from this sprang fierce personal and commercial animosity involving millions in capital. The sheer magnitude of available wealth contributed to the emergence of economic Napoleons, many who sought to settle their fortunes and families right here in the town of Gold Hill.

In addition to mining, Nevada Masonry was also cradled in the area of Gold Hill, and the Masons not only found a sanctuary here, but also exerted strong moral and refining influences on municipal, county and state affairs.

While not the first officially chartered unit in Nevada, the Masons of Gold Hill were already gathering for such things as funeral rites as early as 1860. They soon began contemplating the establishment of a lodge, but the brethren at Gold Hill found it a daunting task, given the sectional animosity induced by the Civil War. Scores of people from both sides of the Mason and Dixon line had come to seek their fortunes in Gold Hill, and this presented a dissenting factor in organizing a cohesive framework from which to build the foundations of a lodge.

But finally, on October 13th, 1864, the Silver Star Lodge #5 in Gold Hill NV, was granted a charter. By 1869 it boasted 123 members, and by the spring of 1875 that number had increased to 188, with finances flourishing.

In the summer of 1880, a large section of the business district of the town was destroyed by fire, and the building occupied by the Masonic brethren was lost.

It is rumored that shortly after the fire, an application was made by the Masons to the original proprietor of the

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Gold Mine Hotel, to purchase the building and lands for use as a Masonic Lodge. How long the Masons retained the Gold Mine Hotel as their meeting place, if in fact this is true, remains unclear. We don't have a lot of facts on the activities of the Gold Hill Masons heading into the 20th century, but we do know that the Gold Mine Hotel was used as a private resort for a number of years in the 1930s. (Conversations overheard in whispers indicate to me that " private " meant more than " exclusive ", it meant " secret ".)

So did the Masons flourish inside the walls of the Gold Mine Hotel for fifty or sixty years after their lodge was destroyed? In short, the answer is no. The end of Masonic Activity was inevitable in Gold Hill, as the fortunes of the town declined, so did Masonry suffer. Its once proud membership dispersed, with many of the brethren returning to the homes from which they had come. The Silver Star Lodge of Gold Hill fought a losing battle until 1919, when the charter was consolidated with a nearby lodge.

So it is possible that the Gold Mine Hotel was in use as a Masonic Lodge as late as 1919, but it wasn't the Masons who were using it as a private compound in the 1930s. So who was?

Well now there's the mystery........


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