Rochester Lodge No. 21, AF&AM of Minnesota


Our Mission



As a Masonic Lodge, our mission is to bring men together from all walks of life, support the Fraternity’s aims of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, and pass along Masonic teachings and traditions to the next generation of great men. We hold regular communications for the purpose of learning more about our craft through Masonic education, sharing our table with visitors to our lodge, and working constantly on self-improvement.

Our Community



Being a member of Rochester Lodge No. 21 doesn't stop at the door of our Lodge. From friends and Brothers around South East Minnesota, to lodges across the state and around the world, Freemasonry is active in nearly ever country. Being a part of a local Masonic lodge opens the door to a life-long Masonic experience.

Our Vision



Our lodge's vision is to be a place where members can set aside the clamor of daily activities, constant bombardment of news, and the distractions of the digital world so that from time to time they may meet in the quiet and decorum of the Lodge room and consider the deeper, the more significant, and the more enduring concerns of man. As members we look forward to carrying on the important work of attracting, initiating, and retaining all men of high quality. 

 A Message from the Master


Welcome to Rochester Masonic Blue Lodge #21, I’m glad you found us. Are you looking to join a fraternity of like-minded men with whom you can develop a strong sense of fellowship? Are you seeking a higher purpose than yourself and want to serve your community by making it better? Do you endeavor to explore the esoteric mysteries of The Craft in order to gain a better understanding of yourself and the universe? You can do any and all of these things plus more in Freemasonry, as you are only limited by your imagination and efforts, because what you get out of Freemasonry is what you put into Freemasonry. 

Masonry is one of the most sublime and perfect institutions that ever was formed for the advancement of happiness and general good of mankind; creating, in all its varieties, universal benevolence and brotherly love. It holds out allurements so captivating as to inspire the Brotherhood with emulation to deeds of glory, such as must command, throughout the world, veneration and applause, and such as must entitle those who perform them to dignity and respect. It teaches us those useful, wise and instructive doctrines upon which alone true happiness is founded; and at the same time affords those easy paths by which we attain the rewards of virtue; it teaches us the duties which we owe to our neighbor, never to injure him in any one situation, but to conduct ourselves with justice and impartiality; it bids us not to divulge the mystery to the public, and it orders us to be true to our trust, and above all meanness and dissimulation, and in all our vocations to perform religiously that which we ought to do. - Duke of Sussex

We welcome good men from all walks of life. If you would like to meet some members of the Lodge in person you can find me in the office on the first and third Mondays of the month or you can be our guest for other open events. For specifics, go to the “Meetings/Events” link for more details. You can also reach out to us using the “Contacts” link on this site or you can check us out on Facebook at:

Rochester Lodge #21 AF&AM | Facebook.

On the Level,

Worshipful Master Ed Gerwill



2023 Lodge Officers





Ed Gerwill


Senior Steward

Danilo Narag, Jr.


Craig Mann


Junior Steward

Thomas Brezniak 


John Pavek 



William Cleveland

Senior Warden

Desmond Garcia



Kirk Balderes

Junior Warden

Jon Kelly



Eddie Miller

Senior Deacon

Russell Winbush


Lodge Education Officer

Gabriel Hall

Junior Deacon

Tim Lipman      

History of our Lodge




In the Beginning 1857-58

The Rochester Lodge first met under a dispensation granted by M. W. Grand Master A. T. C. Pierson on August 24, 1857.  The lodge was organized just three years after the first land claims were established here in Olmsted County.  The original meeting place was on the second story of a wooden store building on Broadway Ave.

On December 30, 1857, Rochester Lodge U. D. elected its officers for the ensuing year. The Lodge was formally chartered by the Grand Lodge of Minnesota under its current name and number on January 8, 1858.  Other lodges chartered the same day were Caledonia No. 20, Pleasant Grove No. 22 near Stewartville, North Star No. 23 at St Cloud and Wilton No. 24 at Pemberton.  Rochester Lodge No. 21's first elected officers were installed on February 27, 1858.

The first recorded by-laws contained only three sections.

  • Section I described how any Master Mason in good standing could be admitted to membership into the lodge. 
  • Section II described how new applications for initiation shall be made and handled. 
  • Section III dictated that each candidate shall pay for the first degree the sum of $10.00, for the second degree the sum of $5.00, and for the third degree the sum of $5.00.

These by-laws were undoubtedly considered incomplete because, within that first year, Lodge minutes indicate that two committees were organized to amend them.  The amended by-laws set the dates of stated communications as they are to this date.  The date of the annual election of officers was fixed.  The dues of the lodge was set at ten cents per week payable quarterly.


The Six Temples of Rochester Lodge

The original meeting place of Rochester Lodge No. 21, and our first temple was on the second story of a wooden store building which was situated on the west side of Broadway, in the middle of the block between Third and College Streets, which are now 3rd and 4th Streets SW.  This building belonged to Bro. David LeSuer, and the lodge quarters were occupied by a millinery shop during the day and were also shared with at least two other fraternal bodies, the Good Templars and the Oddfellows.

The Lodge moved to its second home in 1861.  It was on the second floor of a harness shop located on the southwest corner of Broadway and Forth Street, which is now 1st Street SW. We stayed in this location for about four years, until 1865. Little information exists about these facilities since there are minimal minutes during this span of time. This was undoubtedly due to the absence of brethren during the Civil War.

In 1865, with its ranks expanded by returning veterans, the lodge sought quarters which they could own.  An arrangement was made with Bro. R. B. Graham to construct and take ownership of the third floor of a building that he was erecting on the southeast corner of Broadway and Zumbro Street, which is now 2nd Street SW.  The brethren moved in late is 1865, and would occupy these quarters for over 35 years.  In 1875, to better manage this property, our Temple Association filed the first articles of incorporation.

Near the turn of the century, the lodge had grown and prospered with the community, and the lodge rooms were too small for future use.  Land for a new home was purchased in May of 1897 on the Northwest corner of 1st Avenue and 2nd Street SW.  For three years, the Temple Association deliberated on ways and means to erect a suitable building, which would both house the lodge and provide an income for its maintenance.  In 1900, the Doctors Mayo and Stinchfield in conjunction with Weber & Heintz Druggists, offered to rent the entire first floor for ten years, allowing the $30,000 building project to get underway.  Ground was broken and the cornerstone laid in the summer of 1900.  The building was completed and occupied in January of 1901.

This fourth temple would have served the lodge and affiliated bodies for many years, but unfortunately it was totally destroyed by fire on January 24, 1916.  The fortunate aspect of this event was that most of the lodge records and most of the furniture and equipment managed to be saved.  In 1917, a new building rose out of the ashes of the old one, and this fifth temple was dedicated on September 20th of that year.  This building was rendered as fireproof as the technology of the time would allow, making use of concrete, stone and other flame retardant materials.

That fifth temple had become a landmark in the midst of downtown Rochester.  We would undoubtedly reside there to this day but for downtown redevelopment, specifically the expansion of the Mayo Clinic in the downtown area and also the service-oriented business that supported it.  In 1987, the lodge was caused to relocate to its current location which is outside of the downtown area. A building at the southwest corner of 2nd Street and 20th Avenue SW was purchased and renovated.  This Masonic Center is a single story above ground building which also contains income generating commercial space on its North side.  The temple board, incorporated in 1875, continues to manage this property to this day.  Pictures of this temple and some of the previous temples may be seen in our Picture Gallery.

The Rochester temples grew and evolved as the city of Rochester evolved, from a farming community, to a world class medical center and also high technology center.  One must remember that a Masonic Temple is nothing but an empty space without light and sound for most of its existence. Only when occupied by people does it come to life.  Thus the most elaborate edifice or the rudest loft are only as great as the brethren who come together in them.



The Five Brothers Mayo

The title of this article refers to the Masonic brethren of the Mayo family and not just the two commonly known Mayo brothers, Will and Charlie.

Dr. William Worrall Mayo was first drawn to Rochester in May of 1863, having been named the examining surgeon of the Enrollment Board. He began examining volunteers and screening men conscripted for military duty in the Civil War.  In Rochester, Dr. Mayo was, in the years to come, destined to lay the foundation of the Mayo Clinic which evolved under the guidance of his gifted sons, William James (Will) and Charles Horace (Charlie).

Three months after arriving in Rochester, William W. Mayo petitioned Rochester Lodge for the degrees of Masonry.  Dr. Mayo was initiated as an Entered Apprentice on September 21, 1863, passed to the degree of a Fellow Craft on October 5th and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on October 19th.  Dr. Mayo's associate at the Civil War examining board was Dr. Hector Galloway who was also a member of Rochester Lodge.  His may have been the sponsoring influence that led to the first of the Mayos into the fraternity; but that is only conjecture.  No actual record is available.  The minutes, laid up among the records in the archives of the Rochester Lodge were skimpy during this period, and while the 1916 temple fire did not consume the minute books, it did consume the files of petitions and other documents.

In January, 1864, Dr. Mayo brought his wife, son William James, now two and a half years old, and daughter Gertrude to live in a house he had built on the ground where later the first Mayo Clinic building was to be erected.  Here his next son, Charles Horace, was born on July 19, 1865.  This son would become the second Mayo in Masonry.  His older brother, Will, almost saw light, but not quite.  Time and circumstance interfered.  In 1865 through 1868, Dr. Mayo became a member of the York Rite Bodies in Rochester.

There is no evidence of Dr. Mayo's activity within the Lodge, either as a officer or as a ritualist.  His growing medical practice, his increasing family, his envolvement in local and state politics, and his travel to eastern medical centers in search of the latest medical knowledge makes any extensive involvement in Masonic activity improbable.  Dr. Mayo served as president of the Minnesota Medical Association, served several terms as a member of the Rochester School Board, as the city's Mayor, and he also served in the Minnesota State Senate.  Dr. Mayo made his living as a physician and surgeon, however he had a great impact on the schools, public buildings, and infrastructure of the growing City of Rochester.  Dr. Mayo went far beyond ritual and the accumulation of offices, titles and honors; he put into practice the precepts of Freemasonry as he lived his life among and for his fellow men.

Dr. Charles H. Mayo was the second member of the Mayo family to become a Freemason.  Dr. Charlie, as he was called, returned to Rochester after receiving his M.D. degree in 1888.  He joined his father and older brother, Dr. Will, who had returned five years before.  Dr. Charlie petitioned to Lodge for membership on December 23, 1889, he was initiated as an Entered Apprentice on January 24, 1890, and eventually raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on May 12th.  Like his father before him, Dr. Charlie became a member of the York Rite Bodies in 1922-23. 

At the turn of the century, the Mayo's were key in the construction of the new Temple at 2nd Street and 1st Avenue SW.  They worked with the Temple Association contributing loans and lease agreements for the commercial space on the first floor of the building.  Those leases were surrendered is 1915 when the doctors had built on the far side of the block, the red brick building locally known as the Nineteen-fourteen Building.  The first floor of the Temple building was now leased to Weber and Judd as a drug store.

The work load of the Mayo brothers during these decades was very demanding.  They read extensively about what was happening on the frontier of medicine, and followed their father's practice of visiting great surgeons and watching them work.  They were now being called upon to report their own achievements as diagnosticians and a surgeons with a burgeoning practice.  Dr. Charlie did not seem to give a great deal of time to Masonry although in his day to day activity he certainly gave a great deal to mankind.  In 1929, Dr. Charlie was appointed Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota and served in that capacity. In 1921, Dr. Charlie became a Thirty-second Degree member of the Scottish Rite.  In 1935, he was elected by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction to receive the Thirty-third Degree. 

On January 12, 1920 the third generation of the Rochester Mayos asked to be received into the Masonic Fraternity. Petitions were received from Charles William Mayo, who preferred to be called Chuck, and from his cousin, John Mayo Berkman.  Chuck, now 22 years old, and John, 21 years of age, were both students an Princeton.  Received also that evening was the petition of Dr. William James Mayo, Charlie's brother and partner.  Dr. Will, however, never came to the Temple to receive his degrees.  At age 59 time was passing him by.  Travel, the responsibilities of the Clinic and the Mayo Foundation, his surgical case load, plus the increasing attrition of age were among the factors that blocked his path into the Masonic Fraternity.  On several occasions, it was suggested that Dr. Will be make a "Mason at Site" by the Grand Master.  This never occurred because his brother, Dr. Charlie, objected.

Chuck Mayo and John Berkman were initiated as an Entered Apprentice on August 1, 1920, passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft on September 6th, and raised to the degree of a Master Mason on September 13th.  On September 8, 1924 the last of the Mayo petitions was read in Rochester Lodge.  It came from Dr. Chuck's younger brother, Joseph Graham Mayo.  On December 22nd, Joe was entered as a Masonic Apprentice.  On December 28th, Joseph Mayo was passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft.  Not until the next autumn, on September 7th, was the Third Degree conferred.  Joseph Mayo went no further into the labyrinth of Masonry's complex structure.  In November, 1936 while hunting along the Mississippi River near Alma Wisconsin, his car was hit by a train coming from Chicago.  Both Joe and his dog, Fossie, were killed.

Dr. Charles W. Mayo did seek more, further and added light in Masonry.  In December 1922 he was received and exalted to the Royal Arch in Halcyon Chapter.  In December of the following year, Dr. Chuck received the Orders of Templary in Home Commandry No. 5.  He was created a member of the Osman Temple in June of 1960, and did not become a member of Scottish Rite until 1967.  His father, Dr. Charlie, was had been created a Noble of the Osman Temple in 1906, and was a life member.

In all but one aspect, Chuck's career in Masonry paralleled that of his father.  Chuck did not attain the Thirty-third Degree.  Both father and son were Grand Orators of their Grand Lodge, Chuck having been appointed in 1967.  In his address before the Grand Lodge on March 28, 1968 he delivered his oration.  His closing words were an affirmation of faith: "There will always be doctors because they are necessary.  There will always be those who will accept the calling, for that is what it is.  The problems are many and they will grow, but they will be solved because they must be."

On July 28, 1968, while on a Sunday drive around the Mayo family estate, Chuck died in an auto accident.  Dr. Charles W. Mayo was the last of the Mayos on the Mayo Clinic Staff and the last of the Rochester Mayos in Freemasonry.



The information contained in this history was extrated from the Rochester Lodge No. 21 125th Anniversary booklet published in 1983.  Special thanks must go out to W.B. J. Kenneth Allsen for use of his article titled "The Five Temples of Rochester" and to W.B. Julius W. Opheim for use of his article titled "Four Doctors Mayo In Masonry."

Past Masters of our Lodge



First Master of Rochester Lodge No. 21 


L. H. Kelly 1858 Theodore A. Schacht 1909-10  Julius W. Opheim  1944 Burlin R. Mattson 1974 Richard Pavek 2005
Charles C. Jones 1859 R. A. Baker 1911  George Torrance  1945 Harold D. Campbell 1975 Craig Mann 2006
C. H Lindsley 1860 M. A. Gaskill 1912-13  Carl A. Hansen  1946 Jerald L. Williams 1976 Tom Prindle 2007
E. C. Cross 1861 E. C. Hackett 1914-15  H. R. Maynard  1947 J. Kenneth Allsen 1977 William F. Cleveland 2008
C. H Lindsley 1862-63 C. F. Olson 1916-17  Glenn B. Burbach  1948 Benjamim H. Holt 1978 Tim Callahan  2009
O. A. Hadley 1864-65 George Morrison 1918  Carl W. Ranfranz  1949 Lyle S. Freiderich 1979 Bradly Phelps 2010
C. H Lindsley 1866 Horace Doty 1919 Edward H. Klopp 1950 Alan D. Ackerman 1980 Patrick Pringle 2011
R. A. Jones 1867 S. T. Hutton 1920 Walter E. Trapp 1951 Richard E. Thompson 1981 Brian R. Smith 2012
Royal H. Gove 1868-70 Vernon Gates 1921 John R. Morrison 1952 N. Gene Cowen 1982 Livius V. d'Uscio 2013
William Brown 1871-72 Jay L. Harwick 1922 Murray Schomburg 1953 Alan Hanson 1983 Daniel R. Nash 2014
Royal H. Gove 1873-74 F. R. Finch 1923 Ralph Nelson 1953 Herbert P. Ney 1984 James Pierce 2015
R. A. Jones 1875 Robert Knusel 1924 Arnold Ulrich 1954 James P. McMullin 1985 Scott Coursey 2016
William Brown 1876 R. W. Chadwick 1925 William Gernes 1955 Howard A. Rions 1986 Jeffery Marschall 2017
Royal H. Gove 1877 L. C. Utzinger 1926 Henry Ramme 1956 Charles D. Albrant 1987 Kirk Balderes 2018
Benjamin Ayshford 1878-79 L. G. Schroeder 1927 Robert Cross 1957 Herbert M. Erickson 1988 Kurt Walleser 2019
Royal H. Gove 1880-81 J. H. Starkey 1928 Ralph Cranston 1958 Charles Schleder 1989 Travis Frydenlund 2020
R. L. Van Dusen 1882 A. L. Glabe 1929 Monfort Pearson 1959 James M. Judisch 1990 Karl Northrup 2021
Royal H. Gove 1883 E. R. Boyce 1930 Wendell McKibben 1960 Gerald R. Flickinger 1991 Brian Stamschror 2022
R. L. Van Dusen 1884 B. W. Mitchell 1931 Joseph E. Durst 1961 Christopher A. Koenig 1992  Ed Gerwill  2023
A. L. Gove 1885-87 Lester Farcett 1932 Charles F. Stroebel 1962 Randall J. Alexander 1993      
A. T. Stebbins 1888 A. E. Reiter 1933 James Cochran 1963 Robert Nemek 1994      
J. J. Fulkerson 1889-90 M. R. Jewell 1934 Glenn Paullin 1964 Gerald H. Pulver 1995      
Logan Brackenridge 1891 H. J. Postier 1935 William Benjamin 1965 Rahn S. Lund 1996      
H. R. Hymes 1892-93 L. R. Lundquist 1936 Jerry Korstad 1966 Gregg A. Carlson 1997      
C. M. Johnson 1894-95 N. D. Smith 1937 Joseph H. Dingle 1967 Michael L. Trantow 1998      
W. W. Churchill 1896  Vern R. Chadwick  1938 Ralph D. Johnson 1968 Kris D. Johnson 1999      
J. M. Rowley 1897-99  Frank B. Benson  1939 Vernon C. Barker 1969 Kent A. Johnson 2000      
C. E. Callaghan 1900-02  L. R. Sheldon  1940 Robert L. Carson 1970 Sean W. Krauss 2001      
 George B. Doty  1903-04  E. A. Gatje  1941  David H. Jones  1971  Charles S. Brust 2002      
 T. H. Bliss  1905-06  A. C. Burgan  1942  Arnold F. Larson  1972  Robert I. Boyles 2003      
 O. C. Heyerdale  1907-08  A. C. Hagen  1943  Gerald L. Campbell  1973  John Pavek 2004      

 *Deceased  Living 

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