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Join Us in Celebrating 300 Years

Freemasonry, world's first and largest fraternity, is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year! California Masons are proud to join our brothers throughout the globe in marking this monumental milestone.

The Grand Lodge of California has a number of festivities planned for our members and community. Please explore this page to learn more about our organization, and plan to join us at one of our upcoming events in San Francisco.

History of Freemasonry| Community Events | Commemorative Magazines



In the 17th century, Freemasonry originated out of medieval stonemasons guilds - the men who architected and built the Gothic cathedrals that still grace much of Western Europe. As their work was inherently dangerous, they formed craft guilds, known as "lodges" to care for men who were injured on the job, as well as for the families of those who were killed or no longer able to work. These men were closely bonded, both by their oaths to care for one another, and for their specialized, highly valued knowledge that allowed them to freely transcend borders to practice their craft. (They were known as "free Masons" because unlike most ordinary citizens, they could travel from country to country.)

Over time, men who were not stonemasons were drawn to the lodges, both for their members' steadfast bonds, and for the knowledge that they imparted from brother to brother, mouth to ear. The men who were not stonemasons who became members of the lodges were known as "accepted Masons." This is how lodges began to shift from craft guilds to a fraternity.

In this process, the workmen's tools used by the stonemasons began to take on allegorical context; for example, just as stonemasons worked to transform rough ashlar (building stones) to smooth ashlar, so did they and other men who were drawn to Masonry strive to perfect their identity as moral men. Rooted in the principles of self-improvement, today's Masons follow the principal tenets of brotherly love, relief, and truth that their forefathers established.

The mission of the Masons of California is to foster personal growth and improve the lives of others. Through our culture of philanthropy, we make a profound difference for our brothers, our families, our communities, and our future.

Read more about the history of Freemasonry.

Learn about Freemasonry today.

Discover Freemasonry




Live Webcast: London Anniversary Celebration

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) - the eldest Masonic grand lodge in the world - invites Masons and members of the general public to view its historic tercentenary celebration at London's Royal Albert Hall. More than 4,500 Masons from around the world are scheduled to attend this once-in-a-lifetime milestone event. Live-stream the festivities or view a recorded webcast.

Live-stream: Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. (PST)

Webcast: Watch anytime following the event.

Free (Registration is required.) Advance registration is recommended to ensure system compatibility.




YESTERDAY (1717-1940) * TODAY (1941-2017) * TOMORROW

In a special, three-issue commemorative series, award-winning California Freemason magazine explores the legacy of Freemasonry and its role in the world today. Spanning countries around the globe, this internationally focused perspective of historic and contemporary Freemasonry offers a fascinating perspective of the fraternity and its members.

  • Gain a better understanding of Freemasonry's evolution as an organization and its spread throughout the world.
  • Learn about historic Masons who led democratic, sociopolitical, and civil rights movements, as well as whose who have had a resounding effect on culture and the arts.
  • Discover how drastic changes in technology and biotechnology are creating moral dilemmas in the world, and how Masonic values can help society navigate them.

Read Now




Contact Us

Grand Lodge of California
1111 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

p: (415) 776-7000