(article taken from Alpena County Michigan Sesquicentennial, History and Families 1857-2007)
In July of 1866, a convention was held ot consider establishing a Masonic Lodge in Alpena. The Worshipful Master Dr. William P. Maiden took chair, A.C. Thefft was appointed Secretary, Orin Erskin Senior Warden, Josiah Frink Junior Warden. It was resolved that "wednesday evening on or nearest before the full moon each month the Alpena Lodge would meet." They met above the Hyatt Bakery on Walter Street for the first few years. The first officers appointed by Worshipful Master Maiden were J.K. Lockwood, C.N. Rice, J.J. Potter, D. Plough, H.N. Harvey, O. Allen, Chas. P. Greely. W. D. Hitchcock was assigned to represent the Alpena Lodge at the State Meeting and procured the Seal for the Lodge. The Alpena Masonic Lodge drew membership from doctors, attorneys, lumber-barons, merchants and civic leaders.
About 1888, with teh lumbering era coming to a close, the Fraternity associated with the men in the lumber camps showed a decline. Many members from the Lumbermen's Fraternity applied for admission to the Alpena Masons and were refused. They came together to form the Hopper Mason Lodge of Alpena aised by Abram Hopper, a former Master of the Alpena Lodge. The first Master of the HOpper Lodge was Marshal Bedford, other officers indluced Fred McDonald, Joseph Fitzpatrick, George Bradford, Frank Holmes, George Gray, James Walker, James Kerr, Denton Sellick. The Hopper Lodge met on the third floor of the Bolton & McRae Block, located on Dock and Fletcher Streets. It was also the meeting place of Alpena Lodge, Alpena's first brick building.
For many years Alpena County had two Masonic Lodges serving and providing leaders to the Community. The Lodgesmet in the same buildings, moving from Bolton & McRae buildings to the Wilkinson building in 1890. Then in 1957, when the Wilkinson building was sold, the Hopper Lodged moved to a building on Fourth Street, while the Alpena Lodge moved to the US 23 and Johnson Street location.
The brotherly support and spiritual uplift that teh Masons provide, one to another, offer a solid base for rolemodeling strong community leaders, Over the years, many civic leaders of this area have been Masons. Raymond Douglas was such a community leader. He also became a leader at the state level, assuming the title of Grand Master of the MIchigan Masons in 1947.
In 1995, under the leadership of Master Elden Thompson of Alpena Lodge and Master Robert Schultz of the Hopper Lodge, the two Alpena Lodges merged and became the Alpena Hopper Lodge with a joint membership of 350 men.
Eldon Thompson became a Mason in 1947 when the Alpena Mason Lodge was on the third floor of the Wilkinson building. He recalls the old-timers gathering in the card and billiard room downstairs. They would reminisce about the early days of Alpena. Over the 65 years that Mr. Thompson has been a Mason, much growth and change have occurred. He has obtained the 33Degree in the Scottish Rite Masonry, which is the highest degree in the Scottish Rite. It has taken over 15 years of study and leadership to obtain this honor.
Other Masonic Organizations in the Alpena area are: The Eastern Star, The Rain Girls and The Shriners. The Shriners support three Burn Hospitals and 22 Orthopedic Hospitals nationwide. Currently, the Masonic Van transports area children and families three times a month to these various hospitals.
The Mason organization has been in Alpena County since its beginning. They have provided support and encouragment to many needy in the area and have always placed an emphasis on self-improvement through knowledge, promoting education through last 140 years.