The first Masonic Lodge for black men in America was organized in 1781 in Massachusetts, and a little more than 100 years later, Doric Lodge 18 Masonic Temple was organized in Danville.
Danville got its start June 15, 1888, under the name of Boyle Association, with 40 members initiated into the First Degree. The name later was changed to Doric Lodge.
The first members were Henry Allen, Green Baughman, Joe Burdette, John Bruce, Evan Cowan, Harvey Caldwell, George Craig, James Combs, Henry Crutcher, Jack Fry, Elizah Fry, J. Graham, J.G. Green, W.M. Griffin, T. Gray, Joe Goins, Thomas Hudson, Monroe Hickman, O.N. Johnson, Ashley Jackson, Thomas Loomis, E.S. Miller, Rice Lee, S. Moore, Richard Parr, James Penman, Nash Rum, A.F. Rochester, Alfred Reed, Joseph Rowe, Ben Rains, H. Shelby, J.R. Slaughter, Milford Smith, Ed Swope, W. Scott, G.H. Tilford, H. Wickliffe, Jacob Warren and B. Wickliffe.
The lodge officially was named Doric Lodge 18, F&AM, in December 1888.
The first meeting place for the new lodge was in a rented building on Main Street.
A new hall in 1920
The Masons decided to build a new Lodge Hall about 1920. The group agreed to get the money from a local loan company, which asked 10 members to put up $1,000 each to carry the balance. The 10 who contributed were Ashby Jackson, Nash Rum, J.W. Bates, Charles Stull, V.H. Cheatham, A.F. Rochester, Rascal Hudson, Richard Parr, R.B. Hamilton and James Engleman.
When the new lodge was built on South Second Street, it was called one of the finest in Kentucky.
To meet financial obligations, the first and second floors were rented for barber and beauty shops, restaurants, grocery store and storage area. The building soon was debt-free. It existed 50 years, during which time the local Masons hosted numerous state Grand Lodge meetings.
In the 1970s, the lodge received an offer to sell the lodge building from Urban Renewal, but declined the first offer. The organization offered the lodge $26,400 for the building, but after the building was appraised, the price was set at $34,000. The lodge accepted the offer plus $2,500 for displacement payment.
Doric Lodge members agreed to buy the old Odd Fellow Lodge building at 215 W. Walnut St. at a cost of $23,000, which was accepted.
The lodge held its first meeting in the new temple on Nov. 13, 1973, with the oldest members in charge. Past Master James H. Smith, acting senior deacon F.L. Marshall, and Charles Hayden, Levi Tarrance, Dave Penman, Chesterfield McCormick and Earl Segar had a part on the program.
Fourteen members of the Celestine Chapter 9, OES, organized in 1892, also had a part in the first meeting.
The new temple was dedicated May 18, 1975, and continued to be home to the lodge until earlier this year, when it was sold.
When the Doric Lodge observed is 100th anniversary in 1988 it published a hardback book with the history of the lodge. It listed past and present members of the Masons and Order of the Eastern Star.
The former lodge headquarters on Walnut Street is being renovated by Tim LaDonne of Danville. He wants a business or eatery to locate in the large two-story brick building.