In a rapidly developing residential section of north-side Indianapolis, a number of Masons raised in other Lodges found themselves fraternal brothers with scant acquaintance and no place to meet and develop the Fraternity. The community, moreover, was in need of a high-grade social center. This dedicated group met in a Baptist church at 42nd & Broadway Avenue on September 9, 1920, and drew up a petition with 105 names on it, addressed to the Grand Lodge, requesting a dispensation to work as a Lodge, to be called Calvin W. Prather Lodge, in honor of a prominent and respected past Grand Master of Indiana.
Having no resources as a lodge, this handful of men pledged their own personal means and optioned the lot on the northwest corner of 42nd & College Avenue, later purchasing it for $5,000 of borrowed money. On September 14, 1920, Grand Lodge issued a dispensation to work as a lodge. Calvin W. Prather Lodge, U.D., (under dispensation), met October 7, 1920, in a stated meeting at North Park Lodge No. 634 at 30th & Clifton Avenue. The Charter was granted and presented to the lodge on May 26, 1921, at North Park Lodge, and two days later on May 28th, appropriate cornerstone ceremonies were held by Grand Lodge, giving its number as No. 717. J. Lewis Bray was Worshipful Master at this time. The first meeting in the new building was held November 5, 1921, and formal dedication of the Temple by Grand Master Omar B. Smith was made December 8, 1921, with 133 members and officers present, and 290 guests from six states. The architect was Lodge Brother John P. Parrish, and the building cost $100,000 to erect. At dedication date, the lodge had tripled original membership of 105 petitioners to 320 in a short thirteen months.
Many notable brethren and prominent citizens were guests at 42nd and College over the years, ranging from college presidents to Mayors, Governors, Senators, Poets and even a Vice President of the US. A prominent poet, Brother Edgar A. Guest, spoke at the first Washington Birthday Dinner ever held, which was on February 22, 1923. The years flew by, and the lodge fell victim to a changing neighborhood without adequate parking facilities, and on December 4, 1970, adopted a resolution to sell the property at 42nd & College and relocate to a new and permanent home. So in 1975, Calvin W. Prather Lodge moved in with Keystone Lodge No. 251 for an extended stay of seven years at 71st Street and Shadeland Avenue.
It was during the stay that the slightly over three acres of ground at 87th & Haverstick was discovered, and after successfully resolving a zoning dispute, was purchased and cleared, and construction started. It took over two years to build, and while the replacement cost has been estimated close to $400,000, by doing much of the work themselves, the membership cut construction cost to a little over $185,000 expended. The temple was totally free of debt, indeed a labor of love. It was designed by a member, Brother Kenneth R. Carr, PM, architect, while Brother David E. King, Sr., PM, was the general contractor.
The beautiful architectural work of the Master’s station in the East, the Wardens’ stations, the Columns, the Altar, desks, chairs and other furnishings of the original Lodge have been preserved and incorporated in the new Temple, where they continued to display, in all their splendor, the atmosphere of our heritage. The culmination of the combined efforts of all bodies who meet under this roof, especially the Nettie Ransford Chapter No. 464, Order of the Eastern Star, have made it possible for this to become the success story of the eighties.
The first stated meeting in the new Temple, with Paul T. Eastman as Worshipful Master, was held on September 3, 1982. Most Worshipful Clarence A. Tapper, Grand Master of Masons in the State of Indiana, and his Grand Officers, presided over the dedication of the Temple on Saturday, October 23, 1982.
Sadly, by 2006, the Lodge building was showing the signs of its age. With the cost of restoration being prohibitive, the building and property were sold to developers, and the members of Calvin W. Prather Lodge moved in with the brethren of Mystic Circle Lodge at 7502 East 56th Street in the east-side Indianapolis suburb of Lawrence.