Arlington Lodge 58 Historical Marker

In 1775, Prince Hall (a freed slave) and fourteen other African Americans joined Lodge No. 441, Grand Lodge of Ireland (a military lodge in Boston. After the British vacated Boston, the black masons were left with limited powers but desired to spread the tenets of Masonic teachings. Hall petitioned the Grand Lodge of England for a charter and received a Warrant for African Lodge No. 459 in 1787. Prince Hall Masons broke ties with England in 1827 and established a Grand Lodge of the United States of North America in 1847. The number of African American fraternal orders surged after Emancipation and proliferated as blacks faced the loss of many political rights towards the end of the nineteenth century. African American lodges nurtured solidarity, fostered self-organization during disenfranchisement and segregation, and offered insurance policies to members who were refused service by white-owned companies. By 1850 there were 4,334 local Prince Hall lodges with the majority located in the southern states.

Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), October 24, 2021 Source:

Arlington Lodge #58 (Masons), July 9, 1955 [cellulose acetate photonegative]. Source:

African American masons established The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia in 1875. On April 26, 1888, 21 masons were given dispensation to hold meetings in Alexandria (now Arlington) County. The following year, Arlington Lodge No. 58 consisting of 13 masons was formally established and its officers were installed including: Henry L. Holmes (Worshipful Master), Tipper Allen, S.H. Thompson, James Tunston, John Alexander, Edmund C. Fleet, Sr., Robert E. Smith, Abraham Pinn, and Henry Thomas. These members created and joined numerous other fraternal societies (including the defunct Stevens Lodge No. 1435, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, 1884) to foster a stronger African American community in Arlington County. For more than a century, Arlington Lodge No. 58 (84 Master Masons as of 2015) has and continues to make charitable contributions to the greater community.

Excerpted from: The Historical Marker Database

They held their meetings in Steven’s Lodge Hall from 1892 - ca. 1960. The Masonic Lodge constructed its first building at 2222 S Shirlington Road in 1994. Lodge No. 58 continues to be an active civic organization with many prominent members of the African American community today.

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