Historic Masonic Hall
This 190-year-old building was specifically designed for Hiram Lodge No. 7, established in Franklin in 1809, and now the oldest continually operated Lodge in Tennessee. It is the first three-story building constructed west of the Allegheny Mountains. It may be among the last buildings of its kind standing in the United States. Known as “Masonic Hall,” it witnessed the Lodge’s stream of service to the community and is the site of events of historical significance.
Courts established in Franklin drew top lawyers, including Felix Grundy, Andrew Jackson, and James Robertson, founder of Nashville, who would meet at Hiram Lodge to conduct their business. Most denominations settling in Franklin conducted their religious services in Masonic Hall until their churches could be built.
The first Episcopal congregation was formed there in 1827 and became today’s, St. Paul Episcopal Church. Three years later, Masonic Hall hosted the only meeting between a sitting president and leaders of an Indian Nation. President Andrew Jackson negotiated a relocation treaty with the Chickasaw Indians, which, when rejected by the Senate, led to their expulsion from their homelands, and the infamous Trail of Tears.
The Masonic Hall was severely damaged by occupying federal troops when converting the building in 1862 into a barracks. Their graffiti on a second-floor wall, exposed during a later renovation, identified some by name, date, and military unit. The building was used as an observation post at various times by both sides.
A mile from the epicenter of the Battle of Franklin, both third-floor corners of its facade were struck by cannon fire, most likely from Fort Granger. The building was a field hospital for wounded Union troops left on the battlefield by their withdrawing army. Hiram Lodge was granted federal reparation for building damage in 1912 in the amount of twelve hundred dollars.