Let’s Talk Clovis: 1931 Masonic Temple of Clovis, No.417

The 1903 Presbyterian Church in 1931, to the right is the clergy house. CONTRIBUTED BY CLOVIS MUSEUM

The charter of the Clovis Masons was granted on Oct. 3, 1910. They held their first meetings on the second floor of the 1906 John E. Good store, located on the northwest corner of Fifth and Clovis Avenue. Unfortunately, a fire in 1912 destroyed the Good building and lodge records were lost.

The Clovis Masons moved to Freitas Hall –– located on the southwest corner of Fifth and Clovis Avenue. The meetings were held on the building’s second floor. This building was eventually purchased by an outside party, and it became a popular pool hall. The Masons would often complain about the noise from the billiards (the 500 Club now occupies this historic location).

In 1920 they bought two lots, for a total of $5,750, on the northeast corner of Fourth and Pollasky. They planned to erect a two-story building. The lower floor was leased, so the Masons would occupy the top floor.  Economic stress forced them to sell the property for $2,000. The lots remained vacant for many years; carnivals would perform there until the early 1940s.

On Jan. 13, 1931, the Clovis Masonic Lodge purchased property from the former First Presbyterian Church. As the new owners of the building, Dr. M.S. McMurtry, G.H. Ambrosia, L.E. Weldon, A.T. Davis, and Chris Kastner were listed as Trustees of the Clovis Lodge No.417, Free and Accepted Masons of California. The Masons paid $4,000 for the church property. They paid $3,000 from their funds and secured a $1,000 mortgage from the Clovis First National Bank. They remodeled the building to comply with the symbolism of King Solomon’s Temple (the original structure was a gothic and craftsman-style church that the First Presbyterian Church initially designed). Other changes included converting the basement into a banquet room and a lodge room.

In 2017 the Clovis Masonic Lodge merged with the Las Palmas Ponderosa Lodge No.366F, located at 2992 E. Clinton, Fresno. The Grace Place Church purchased the Masons’ historic building in 2018.

Though the Clovis Masons merged with the Pas Palmas Ponderosa Lodge No. 366F, they still remain a part of the rich Clovis heritage.

Peg Bos is the president of the Clovis Museum on 4th and Pollasky avenues in Old Town Clovis. She not only manages the museum but she also writes her Let's Talk Clovis column in our publication which features and highlight the amazing history of our city and culture. One fun fact about Peg Bos, she was the first female mayor of Clovis from 1984-86.