Three-and-a-half years after the organization of Surprise Valley Lodge, on October 10, 1978, another new Lodge came into existence at Alturas, a little settlement originally known as Dorris Bridge.  The Lodge was originally called the Alturas Lodge.  The record is not clear regarding preliminary meetings, but it appears to have been organized with 11members.   It received its dispensation from Grand Master John Browne on January 30, 1878 and its charter on October 10, 1878.  George H. Knight was the first Master, with William H. Bowman as Senior Warden and Joseph Nathan Stone as Junior Warden. 

Stone was accidentally killed on July 18 while the Lodge was still under dispensation and his place in the first returns was left blank.  His was the first Masonic funeral held in Alturas.   Between the dates Alturas Lodge received its dispensation and charter, it gained six members by initiation and affiliation and lost four through death and withdrawal. 

Alturas Lodge first met in what was known as the “old hall” or “printing shop” on the corner of Carlos and Howard Streets.  But, in 1835, it moved into its own hall at the corner of Main and Carlos.  In his history of the Lodge written in 1928, Past Master W.E. Armstrong offers an interesting sidelight on this hall.  “Its erection nearly broke the Lodge financially and otherwise, and for years those who carried the Lodge debt required every member of the Lodge to sign the note for and on behalf of the Lodge and as additional security for the mortgage on the hall.”  This must have dampened many a newly raised candidate’s enthusiasm as, in signing the Lodge Bylaws, he “let himself in for something.” 

For a while, Alturas Lodge cooperated with the local Odd Fellows in maintaining a cemetery, but it eventually turned its share of the establishment over to a cemetery association organized by the Modoc County Supervisors.  

Alturas Lodge’s existence seems to have been assured by the fact that the town of Alturas has always been the Modoc County Seat.  Yet, the Lodge’s growth was neither fast nor great.  In the first 50 years of its existence, the Lodge had no less than 12 plural term Masters.  James Todd Laird and J.C. Rachford led the list with five terms each.  Those serving three terms apiece were A.J. Meyers, D.W. Jenkins, C.S. Baldwin and R.A. Laird.  Each of the others satisfied himself with two. 

While a sizeable number of the Lodge’s early members must have played important roles in the building of their community and county governments, little is known of them.  Baldwin cannot properly be classified as a pioneer member of the Lodge, but he was an “old timer” and an interesting one.  He was born in Augusta, Wisconsin September 16, 1874 and passed his boyhood in his home state and Minnesota.  In 1901, he moved “out West,” settling awhile in Wheeler County, Oregon.  Two years later, he went to Oakland, California where he married Katherine Kelsey French. 

While living in the Bay Area, Baldwin studied law at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.  Upon being admitted to the bar in 1905, he moved to Alturas, where he lived and practiced. 

Baldwin was made a Mason in Fossil Lodge of Fossil, Oregon, in 1903.  He affiliated with Alturas Lodge 248 in 1906 and served as its Master in 1908, 1909 and 1917.  He was also Inspector of his District, serving continuously from January 0f 1915 to January 1945. 

On September 22, 2000, Alturas Canby Cross Lodge 248 joined Modoc Lodge 235. 

(The above text was abbreviated in the interest of website space.  For a complete manuscript, please contact the Lodge Secretary). 


Alturas Canby Cross Lodge 248

Last location of the Lodge, near the corner of Main Street (Hwy 395) and E 4th Street.  Also known as the Belli Building, it was constructed in 1929 at a cost of $39,000. It is a poured concrete structure with an ornate brickwork facade. Its internal structure consists of massive steel I-beams, and it represents a blending of 19th and 20th century architectural styles. The Bus Stop was originally built as a two-story wooden structure in 1879 as a wagon shop. It became Modoc High School in 1903 and the Pythian Hall. The original wood structure was bricked over around the turn of the century. Masonic Temple was constructed in 1929 of pressed block and red brick. At three stories, it is one of Alturas's tallest buildings.

Original location of Alturas Lodge 248 at Carlos and Howard Streets; it was later known as the Sears Building.  There are the words 'Sears Roebuck And Co.' painted on the north side of the building. There is also a Masonic symbol with the date '1884' made of stone and located near the roof on the front of the building.

Fort Crook Lodge 250 F&AM