Abilene Lodge 559, 1926

In 1879, the present site of Abilene was a grassy pasture for the Hashknife ranch. By late 1880, the Texas and Pacific Railroad was already at Eastland, and the westward route was known. John and Clabe Merchant, and others in Taylor County, began planning a new town to be built along the railroad tracks. This town would be named Abilene, after Abilene, Kansas. The first sale of town lots was held March 15, 1881, when 317 lots were sold for a total $51,360.

On March 4, 1882, local Masons petitioned the Belle Plain Lodge #522 for permission to meet as a lodge in Abilene. The petition was sent to the Grand Lodge of Texas, and granted on March 24, 1882. Abilene Lodge 559 received its charter on December 16, 1882, with Cornelius A. Donovan presiding as Master of the Lodge (Under Dispensation).

Abilene Lodge 559 met in rented buildings during the early 1900s, as according to its records the great majority of lodge funds were expended on the “sick and needy”. In 1920, three lots were purchased at the site of the present building. On May 20th, 1926, the cornerstone of the lodge was laid. This cornerstone contains a copy of that day’s edition of the Abilene Reporter, a list of officers and members of Abilene Lodge 559, and a list of all visiting lodges participating in the ceremony. The first meeting was held in the new building on November 6, 1926.

Today, Abilene Lodge 559 has over 300 members, is one of three active lodges in Abilene, and remains active in local and statewide charities.