A brief history of the Des Moines York Rite.
June 8, 1854:  Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the State of Iowa is organized in Mount Pleasant.  TS Parvin serves as first Most Excellent Grand High Priest.

June 13, 1856:  Corinthian Chapter receives dispensation from the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the State of Iowa.

May 30, 1857:  Corinthian Chapter 14 receives a charter from the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the State of Iowa.  Lovell White serves as High Priest.

September 24, 1857:  Several Sir Knights gather at the Lodge Hall of Pioneer Lodge 22 AF&AM in Des Moines gather and petition the Grand Encampment for a charter to form a Commandery in Des Moines.  John Scott serves as first Eminent Commander of Des Moines Commandery.  Scott also served in Iowa State Senate in 1859, leaving in 1861 to enlist as the Captain of Company E of the 3rd Iowa Infantry Regiment. He was later promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and then transferred to the 32nd Iowa Infantry Regiment and promoted to Colonel. He left the Army in May of 1864 and returned to his political career, serving as the Lieutenant Governor of Iowa (1867-1869)

1859:  The Grand Encampment issues dispensation to Des Moines Commandery to operate and confer the Orders of the Commandery.  However, the minutes of the Grand Commandery of Iowa from the 1864 Grand Conclave note that the dispensation was forfeited between 1860 and 1864 as membership in Des Moines Commandery declined significantly as many members had left to serve in the "armies of the republic" (Union Army).

June 4, 1864:  The Grand Commandery of Iowa is formed in Des Moines, with TS Parvin serving as the first Right Eminent Grand Commander of Iowa.  The Commanderies that formed the Grand Commandery of Iowa included:
  • DeMolay Commandery 1 in Muscatine
  • Palestine Commandery 2 in Iowa City
  • Siloam Commandery 3 in Dubuque
June 6, 1864:  JR Hartsock, Eminent Commander of Palestine Commandery 2 proposes that Des Moines Commandery be issued a charter.

June 10, 1864:  Des Moines Commandery 4 receives its charter from the Grand Commandery of Iowa.  Joseph E Jewett serves as Eminent Commander after returning from serving as an officer with the 2nd and 4th Iowa Calvary Regiments in the Civil War.

1871:  Des Moines Commandery 4 Changes its name to Temple Commandery 4.

est. 1884-1891: Construction of Masonic Temple at 7th and Walnut.

October 3, 1899:  Fire erupts at the Harris-Emery Dry-Goods store at 310 7th St., and spreads to the Masonic Temple at 7th St. & Walnut.  The Temple is destroyed by fire, displacing the Des Moines York Rite.

October 15, 1900:  Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of the State of Iowa is constituted.  Alpha Council 1 receives a charter from the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of the State of Iowa.  Frederick W Craig serves as the first Illustrious Master.  Craig later served as the Grand Master of Masons in Iowa in 1910, and General Grand High Priest of the General Grand Chapter RAM in 1918.

1911-1913:  The Des Moines York Rite builds the Masonic Temple at 10th St. & Locust. (information about the building can be found here).

2002:  The Masonic Temple at 10th St. & Locust is sold.  The Des Moines York Rite moves into the Des Moines Scottish Rite Masonic Center at 6th St. and Park.  The former Masonic Temple becomes the Temple for the Performing Arts.
John Scott
First Eminent Commander of Des Moines Commandery 4 KT

Joseph E Jewett
First Scribe of Corinthian Chapter 14 RAM

Frederick W Craig
First Illustrious Master of Alpha Council 1 RSM

Masonic Temple
7th & Walnut Streets

Masonic Temple
1011 Locust St.

Scottish Rite Masonic Center
519 Park St.