California Historical Landmarks in San Francisco

California Historical Landmark 408
Birthplace of Freemasonry in California
728 Montgomery Street

California Historical Landmark 408: Birthplace of Freemasonry in California
Genella Building) and Belli Building)
19 October 2002

California Historical Landmark 408: Birthplace of Freemasonry in California
20 March 2004
(Click Photos to Zoom)

Birthplace of Freemasonry in California

On November 9, 1848, a charter was granted by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia for the organization of California Lodge No. 13, now California Lodge No. 1 of the Free and Accepted Masons. On November 23, 1848, Levi Stowell was appointed master of the new lodge, and on November 15, 1849, the lodge was formally organized under the charter.

Citation from California Office of Historic Preservation

Levi Stowell carried the charter from Washington to San Francisco.

He traveled by ship down the Atlantic coast, disembarked in Panama and crossed the isthmus on mule back. After weeks of waiting for a ship on the Pacific coast, Stowell embarked for San Francisco.

The first meeting of California Lodge No. 13 took place on Thursday, November 17, 1849, on Montgomery Street. The second meeting was held on December 7, 1849, on Montgomery Street in a building rechristened Masonic Hall.

In 1850, California Lodge 13 joined four other lodges, also chartered from the eastern United States, to form the Grand Lodge of California. California Lodge 13 became California Lodge 1. The Masonic Hall on Montgomery Street was replaced by a new, more suitable, Masonic Hall on Kearny Street, near Pine Street.


This historical site is located in the Jackson Square Historic District.

We were unable to locate a commemorative marker for the Birthplace of Freemasonry in California.

Some Missing California Plaques

When we visited the following sites, we were unable to locate a California commemorative plaque.

At some sites, it appeared that a California plaque had never been erected. At other sites, there was a base, but the plaque itself was missing. Some sites without California plaques had other historic markers, but they did not note that the site is a California Historical Landmark.

Adams and Company Building, Sacramento
Altaville, Calaveras County
Anza Expedition Camp, Burlingame
Bear Valley, Mariposa County
Big Bar, Amador and Calaveras Counties
Birthplace of Freemasonry in California , San Francisco

Booth Home Site, Sacramento
Brannan Cottage, Calistoga
Brannan Store, Calistoga
Brown Home, Red Bluff
Bloody Point, Modoc County

Bonner Grade, Modoc County
Brannan House, Sacramento
Butte Store, Amador County
California Star Newspaper Site, San Francisco
Camino of Rancho San Antonio, Oakland

Chevra Kaddisha Cemetery, Sacramento
China Slough Site, Sacramento
City of Paris Department Store Site, San Francisco
Condemned Bar, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
Congregational Church, Mokelumne Hill

Crabtree (Lotta) Home, Grass Valley
Crocker Gallery, Sacramento
Croll Building, Oakland
Donner Monument, Truckee
Douglas Flat, Calaveras County

Eagle Theatre, Sacramento
Ebbetts Pass, Alpine County
Ebner's Hotel, Sacramento
Evans and Bailey Fight, Modoc County
Fort Janesville, Lassen County

Frémont's Camp, Modoc County
Frog Woman Rock, Mendocino County
Glencoe (Mosquito Gulch) , Calaveras County
Giant Powder Company Site, San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco and Marin Counties

Grange Hall Site, El Dorado County
Guillem's Graveyard, Lava Beds National Monument
Hornitos, Mariposa County
Hudson Cabin Site, Calistoga
Irishtown, Amador County

Jackson Gate, Amador County
Kelsey House Site, Calistoga
Kirkwood's, Amador County
Lady Adams Building, Sacramento
Laurel Hill Cemetery Site, San Francisco

Long Wharf Site, San Francisco
Maiden's Grave, El Dorado National Forest
Marklee's Cabin Site, Markleeville
Marshall's Blacksmith Shop, Kelsey
Methodist Episcopal Church, Placerville

Mills Bank Building, Sacramento
Mokelumne Hill IOOF Hall, Mokelumne Hill
Montez (Lola) Home, Grass Valley
Montezuma, Tuolumne County
Montgomery Hill, San Jose

Napa Valley Railroad Depot, Calistoga
Negro Hill, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
Old Emigrant Trail, Modoc National Forest
Olema Lime Kilns, Marin County
Orleans Hotel Site, Sacramento

Overton Building, Sacramento
Parrott Block Site, San Francisco
Peralta Hacienda, Oakland
Pioneer Cemetery, Calaveras County
Pioneer Hall, Jackson
Plumas House, Quincy

Plymouth Trading Post, Plymouth
Pony Express Remount Station, Woodfords
Portolá Camp at Crystal Springs, San mateo County
Portolá Camp at Gazos Creek, Bean Hollow State Beach
Portolá Camp at Martini Creek, Montara

Portolá Camp at Pilarcitos Creek, Half Moon Bay
Portolá Camp at Pulgas Water Temple, San Mateo County
Portolá Camp at Purisima Creek, Half Moon Bay
Portolá Camp at San Gregorio State Beach, San Gregorio
Portolá Camp at Tunitas Beach, San Mateo County

Richmond Shipyards District, Richmond
Rincon Hill, San Francisco
Sacramento Bee Building, Sacramento
Sacramento Union Site, Sacramento
Sailing Launch Comet, Lathrop

Saint James Episcopal Church, Sonora
Salmon Falls, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
San Joaquin City Site, Tracy
Smartsville, Yuba County
Stage Coach and Railroad, Sacramento

State Indian Museum, Sacramento
Stone Corral, Calaveras County
Studebaker's Shop, Placerville
Sutter Creek, Amador County
Swift's Stone Corral, Colusa County

Telegraph Hill, San Francisco
Transcontinental Railroad, Lathrop
Willms Ranch, Knights Ferry
Valley Springs, Calaveras County
Western Hotel, Sacramento

Whiskeytown, Shasta County
Woodbridge, San Joaquin County
Wood's Ferry and Bridge Site, Woodbridge

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