On Thursday, Jan. 10, the Terrestrial-Mt. View Masonic Lodge of Eatonville held its annual ceremony to appoint new officers for the year. The newly filled positions included the master of the lodge, senior warden, junior warden, secretary and treasurer.

In a break from the usual secrecy surrounding Masonic rituals, a few select members of the public were invited to view the ceremony.

“It’s an opportunity to peek behind the curtains and experience (our) beautiful ceremony,” newly elected Master of the Lodge, Stephen Johnston, said.

The Freemasons is a fraternal organization tracing its roots back to 17th century Europe, and perhaps far earlier. Calling itself “the oldest fraternity in the world,” its past members include a number of America’s Founding Fathers, such as George Washington.

Its current membership is estimated at nearly six million members worldwide, with around one and a half million in the United State alone.

“Freemasonry is at its core an idea that people have the power to build the world around them, and that such power is best harnessed when a commitment is made to build for the common good of all,” states the website for the Grand Lodge of Washington, to which the Eatonville chapter belongs.

“Freemasonry forges true friends — and truly personal friends — out of men. It lays the foundation for relationships built on common values and commitments,” it goes on to say.

Eatonville’s Terrestrial-Mt. View Lodge was established in 1920. It has occupied its current space next to the Roxy Theater since 1955.

The building itself has a colorful history.  It was built in 1913 along the Nisqually River where it served variously as a home, a post office, a library and a newspaper office. It was relocated in 1944 after the damming of the river and the subsequent creation of Alder Lake.

“It was the only building in the area saved from flooding,” Johnston said.

Local members meet there on the second Thursday of every month, and the third Thursday in June. Dinners beforehand are open to the public.

In addition to its ritualistic and social functions, the Eatonville Freemasons also have a charitable aspect, supporting the First Responders Coffee Fund through donations, and taking part in events such as town parades, Fall Fest, Dollars for Scholars and the Business Trick or Treat. Through its association with Washington Masonic Charities, it also provides scholarships and leadership training for youth.

 Asked what message he would like to convey to the public regarding his organization, Johnston stressed the opportunities it provides “to forge lasting connections based on shared beliefs and experiences,” in a modern world where it can be hard to come together in person.

“When you become a Freemason, you will always have true friends that care about you. This is Freemasonry,” Johnston stated.

For further information on the organization or how to join, call (253) 625-7891 or visit www.freemason-was.org.