Celebrating 50 Years!
Tickets available now at: https://lee-lockwood-golden-gala.eventbrite.com
The Lee Lockwood Library and Museum was opened on September 27, 1969, to act as a meeting place for the Waco Scottish Rite Bodies and to house the many books and artifacts donated by Masons over the years. It contains three floors of exhibits on Freemasonry, Texas, and local history. The Library houses close to 10,000 books on International, American, and Texas History, as well as rare and complete literary works of many famous authors.
Planning started in the mid-1960s with ground being broken in 1967 and construction ending and opening September 27, 1969. The building was created to act as a home base or “Grand Lodge” for Texas Scottish Rite Masons in Texas, this is due to the proximity of the Grand Lodge of Texas which is also located in Waco. A committee of 100 was formed being tasked with raising all the money needed for the building and its construction. Members of this committee consisted of prominent Waco businessmen and state leaders. Robert L. Lockwood, Duncan Howard, Abner McCall, Allen Shivers, and Victor Newman are but a handful of men who lead this campaign. Lockwood was a prominent businessman and leader in the Waco community in the mid-1900s, Abner McCall was the President of Baylor University at the time of the building’s construction, and Allen Shivers was the 37th Governor of Texas (1949-1957). Together these men raised enough money to fully fund the building. With the intent of being a central location for all Texas Scottish Rite Masons to meet, the secondary purpose of the building was that of a Library and Museum. The purpose was to house artifacts and documents pertaining to the rich history of the organization, as well as that of local and state history. Since September 27, 1969 the Lee Lockwood Library and Museum has served that purpose. There has been no major change to the purpose or utility of the building apart from opening the venue up to non-masons to rent for personal or social functions. With the exception of changing out the carpet flooring to hardwood for more practical use, some up to code electrical and plumbing work, as well as quality of life/modern updates, the building has stood as it was for 50 years. The Alexandria Memorial Curator Mark Tabbert has called the Lee Lockwood Library and Museum “The last great Masonic building built in America”. The outside of the building is a large limestone rectangle, which is indicative of King Solomon’s Temple as well as regular Masonic Lodges. Out front sit 2 two-ton limestone sphinx’s and 4 two story columns that act as the main entrance of the building.
Some notable pieces include a 1,200 plus original print set from renowned Waco photographer Fred Gildersleeve, a grandfather clock that sat in George Washington’s home, a large coin collection from lodges throughout the world, and many Masonic and Texas artifacts spanning our entire history. The Library is home to several rare or first edition prints from authors that include Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. A complete set of War of the Rebellion, which is a collected work of letters, medical records, orders, and enlistment data of both the Union and the Confederacy during the Civil War. Our vault contains books that are over 200 years old, with some being printed on a Linotype printing press.
Over the years we have expanded to an event center as well as a Library and Museum. Each month we hold weddings, meetings, parties, musical events, and other celebrations both Masonic and non-Masonic. Our auditorium is home to the Waco Children and Christian Youth Theater, who have performances and camps many times a year.
This year is the 50th Anniversary of the building. Over the last two years, we have been renovating and redesigning the Library and Museum. Our goal is to bring the building into the modern age and include ourselves in the Waco tourist circuit. On September 21, 2019, we will hold a Grand Re-Opening Gala that will be open to the public and will act as the first event of the new Lee Lockwood Library and Museum. You can visit our website www.leelockwood.org for more information on the “Golden Gala: A Night at the Museum” 50th Anniversary celebration, where tickets and sponsorships are available online.