A Brief History of Lodge #83
The original Lodge #83, Concordia Lodge, was charted by the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin in 1857 to practice Masonry in the town of Madison. Concordia Lodge #83 was a German-speaking lodge that used a French Masonic ritual. In January 1882, Concordia Lodge petitioned the Wisconsin Grand Lodge to surrender its charter and jewels, there already being two other Masonic lodges in Madison, with its members transferring to Madison Lodge #5 and Hiram Lodge #50.
In the early 2000s, a group of predominantly Madison-area Masons began to meet informally to discuss various topics of interest consistent with Masonry. Over time, this group began to refer to itself as the Leather Apron Club, in homage to Bejamin Franklin’s eighteenth century group that discussed and debated issues of morality, politic and natural philosophy. In 2006 the group formalized its organization by petitioning the Wisconsin Grand Lodge to form a new lodge. Wisconsin Grand Master Rodney Allen Paulsen granted their request for such a dispensation on October 26, 2006. Lodge #83 was renamed Benjamin Franklin Lodge in honor of its symbolic patron.
Today, Benjamin Franklin Lodge #83 uses the Emulation Ritual, a form of Masonic Ritual common to lodges of American Revolution times and is in regular use today in England. Benjamin Franklin Lodge #83 retains some of this European and American Revolution favor, with limited membership and endeavors to observe Masonic tradition. Stated Communications are held in downtown Madison at the Madison Club, where after meeting a meal is typically enjoyed by attending Brothers, together with spirited discussion of topics reminiscent of the Leather Apron Club.