University Masonic Lodge No. 1190 History

austin masonic lodge

Masonry had a profound effect on the University of Texas in earlier years. As early as 1914, a Masonic study club was active on the University of Texas Campus, the nucleus of which grew by 1920 to consist of thirty-nine active members and nine honorary members. “Believing in Truth, in Justice and in Light as immutable laws of God,” this group looked, “forward to a fuller realization of the ideals of Freemasonry,” and dedicated themselves “to a faithful study of the illustrious past in order that we may better comprehend its great truths.” Brother Wiley Glaze, a member of the study group, summoned up the feeling on the campus when he wrote:

“After World War I, some of these Master Masons, including students and faculty, returned to the campus with a keener realization of the values of the teachings of Freemasonry. To them, Masonry was a science of life, a system of morality, and philosophy of life taught in a society of men by signs, symbols and ceremonies, with a peculiar ritual, having for its purpose, the improvement and perfection of the individual and mankind.”


Albert M. Scott, serving as President of the Masonic Study Club, initiated a movement to gather together all Masons on the University of Texas campus. In a letter dated October 22, 1921, Scott noted that the club met in Room 312 of the Education Building every Thursday evening. In the letter, Scott wrote that no dues were required with the only qualification for joining be that a man be a Mason in good standing. He enclosed a questionnaire which would provide for “some very important information needed for the intelligent conduct of Masonic activities in the Institution.” Special reference was made “to the proposed organization of a new Blue Lodge near campus, to be essentially a University Lodge.” While the nature of the group was serious, he stated that they would find time for a social event like a smoker or barge ride at least once each term. The questionnaire asked if the person was interested in forming such a Lodge, and requested nominations for the top three offices.

university classroom

The returns from the questionnaire showed that sixty-five of the 270 Masons in the University were members of the faculty and staff, while 205 were students. Of the 270 Masons, only 130 returned the questionnaire. Sixty-one indicated they would be willing to join the new organization. Scott, encouraged by the response, thought that “sufficient material” existed to establish a “good, sound Blue Lodge.” The problem was to find a suitable meeting place, but this was possibly solved by the fact that the Scottish Rite Temple at 18th and Lavaca was only a few blocks from the campus. Scott asked Joe H. Muenster, Secretary of the Austin Scottish Rite Bodies to secure the approval of the Scottish Rite Executive Committee for the proposed Lodge to use their Lodge room for one night each week.

Tower austin

The Study Club continued its weekly meetings and its membership increased. From the Education Building, the meeting place was moved to B Hall, and then to Sutton Hall, but there was difficulty with the absence of facilities needed for the floor work and with the proper tiling of the room. Then in early 1922, Scott assisted by Law Professor George C. Butte, and J.E. Stullken of the Chemistry Department, issued a call for a meeting to convene at the auditorium in the Young Mens’ Christian Association building at 22nd and Guadalupe on Sunday, January 9, 1922. The specific purpose was to transact business in regard to the organization of a new Lodge. The letter calling the meeting noted that two places for the Lodge’s home were available. The Scottish Rite Bodies had offered the use of the blue room in the Temple for a temporary meeting place, while Lomis Slaughter had available the second floor of the Slaughter Building at 19th and Lavaca for $35.00 per month. Masons who had promised to join the new Lodge were urged to communicate with their home Lodges to acquire a dimit. A resounding success crowned the efforts of this careful planning. At the meeting, Scott began by reviewing the efforts of the Masonic situation in Austin and the University to the 45 persons present. Scott was followed by George C. Butte who gave a good summary of the need for a new Lodge. The minutes of the meeting outlined his talks as follows:

“Upon invitation of the temporary chairman, Dr. George C. Butte, of the School of Law, addressed the gathering. He gave a short exposition of the various considerations which had led the advocates of this movement to believe the new Lodge would be desirable. He said that the few years during which young men were more or less retired in study, away from the active affairs of business, and while they had the academic attitude, afforded a splendid opportunity for protecting themselves in the great teachings of Masonry, thus rounding them out as men while acquiring something of the liberal art and sciences; that young college students, and their instructors, having a great deal in common, would feel among their own colleagues, to a greater degree than even in the splendid and hospitable Lodges downtown: that the membership of the two present Lodges was already becoming too large for convenience, also. He emphasized that it was not the desire of those leading in this movement to foist an unwelcome project down the throats of University and other Masons whether wanted or not; that “railroading” tactics were far from their aims; and that if the Lodge was to come into existence it would have to come at the wish and on the initiation of the main body of Masons; he expressed the desirability of throwing the meeting entirely open for discussion and question by any Mason present.”

Buttes address was followed by “commendatory and encouraging talks” by James W. McClendon, Worshipful Master of Hill City Lodge No. 456; H. F. McDonald, Secretary of Hill City Lodge No. 456; and John E. Stullken and E. C. H. Bantel, both connected with the University of Texas and members of Hill City Lodge No. 456.

Twenty-seven Masons agreed to ask their Lodge for a demit, and a committee, consisting of E. Karl McGinnis, J. E. Stullken, W. Lambuth Cox, and John K. Webber, was appointed to continue the canvass on the University campus to secure additional members. The Secretary was instructed to write to the Grand Lodge Secretary to secure the necessary forms for the formation of a new Lodge. F. E. Giesecke, E. C. H. Ban- tel. and Robert A. Grundy were appointed as a Finance Committee to raise the money necessary for the submission of a charter. After announcing another meeting for Thursday, February 2nd, Chairman Butte adjourned the meeting. One other note about this meeting should be made. James R. Beverly was elected historian to keep “an historical record of the preliminary proceedings in the organization of the Lodge, to begin from the earliest conception of the idea and extend down to the time the Lodge is actually brought into existence.”

On February 2, 1922, the applications for dispensation and a charter were signed, the organization was officially named “University Lodge,” and the first Thursday in each month was selected as the meeting time in the Scottish Rite Temple. John E. Stullken was elected to be Worshipful Master, Wiley E. Glaze as Senior Warden, and W. A. (Block) Smith as Junior Warden.

[More of our history will be added in time.]