Walking Tour Prepared By Kevin & Lisa Ragland
With History By: Yolanda Reid & Linda Dean
Western Star Lodge No. 9 began in 1868 making plans to "build a fine hall". They purchased this portion of original town lot #15 on January 23, 1869, for five hundred dollars. The Clarksville Weekly Chronicle newspaper reported on June 19, 1869, "The laying of the corner-stone of the new Masonic Hall at Springfield, takes place on the 24 the inst. Arrangements have been made to run an extra train upon that occasion at half fare rates to all who wish to attend"
The building was built as a three story brick with a cellar/basement. The third/top floor was reserved for the Masonic Lodge and was accessed via stairs on the south side of the building. The first and second floors were rented to various businesses. In May 1884 T. M. Henry and C. C. Bell purchased the first and second floors and held ownership of same through 1954 and in 1951 their heirs also purchased the third floor. Henry & Bell established this location handling stoves, tin ware and coffins through 1913 when they built a new building on South Main Street. Those two floors were then rented through the following years to music & piano teachers, a printer, the county agent, John Towe ran a watch repair business here in the 1940's and '50s. Jake Morton had his barber shop here from the 1940's into the 1960's.
The entire building and land was purchased by Joe, Amelia and Robert D. Moore in 1954 who continued renting to various people. The Masonic Lodge continued to meet on the third floor until the mid-1960's when they purchased property on Hill Street for a new building. During the summer of 1969 the Moore's determined the building condition needed a lot of work and with no elevator the upper floors were difficult to rent. At that time the top two floors were demolished, leaving the street level first floor and basement. At this time the law office of Sprouse, Long & Walton, i.e. John D. Sprouse, John R. Long and Jim Walton was located here. This law firm evolved into Walton & Jones, (Mike Jones) who purchased the property in 1982. In 1985 it was purchased by Larry Wilks and Mike Jones. Mike sold out to Larry in 1990 and Larry practiced law here until his death in 2011.
Masonic Lodge History from The Goodspeed History of Robertson County, Tennessee
One of the oldest Masonic lodges in the State is Western Star Lodge No. 9, of Springfield. It was first organized as Rhea Lodge, at Port Royal, Tennessee, June 24, 1812 under a dispensation from the Grand Masters of North Carolina and Tennessee. The charter members were John Bake, W. M.; Jack E. Turner, S. W.; James Norfleet, J. W.; G. T. Ware, S.D.; Elijah Hughs, J.D.; Henry H. Bryan, Secretary and Treasurer, and David Gould. It received its charter as Western Star Lodge in February 1813, from the Grand Master of North Carolina and Tennessee. A new charter from the Grand Master of Tennessee was received October 1, 1814. The lodge was removed to Springfield November 22, 1817. The first meeting thereafter as held at the residence of Daniel Horton, January 14, 1818. Meetings continued to be held at private residences until a suitable hall could be rented. In 1850 a one-half interest in a brock storehouse on the east side of the public square was purchased from John F. Courts, and six years later the lodge became the owner of the entire building. The hall was erected in 1870 at a cost of about $10,000.