Eagle Lodge #19
Eagle Lodge, Chartered in 1791, was one of the first Masonic lodges chartered under the Grand Lodge of North
Carolina. In 1793, members of Eagle Lodge helped lay the cornerstone of the Old East building at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in a ceremony marking the birth of public higher education in the United States. The ceremony was led by Grand Master William Davie, who was also a Trustee of the new University, and later on, was elected Governor of North Carolina in 1798.
Our home is an 1823 Greek Revival building designed by state architect William Nichols and built by John Berry. The building is a 40-foot cube with walls of solid brick. William Nichols was also the architect behind such notable building projects as the State Capitols of North Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi. John Berry, known as “Captain Berry” by the locals, also helped design and build the Orange County Jail and Courthouse, and was a North Carolina State Senator from 1848 until the end of the Civil War.
Although Eagle Lodge has occupied the building since its construction, the hall also served as an opera house, unofficial town meeting hall, Civil War hospital and observatory for Burwell School students.
Water damage led to the rooftop observatory's removal in 1862 but its stairs remain, as well as the building's original louvered shutters and paneled entrance doors.
Today, the lodge still serves as a meeting place for many groups in the community. We sponsor Hillsborough Assembly #77, a member of the North Carolina Grand Assembly, International Order of Rainbow Girls.
Rainbow Girls is a youth organization for girls aged 11-21, which emphasizes leadership and character growth to prepare tomorrow’s Women Leaders. In addition, many other organizations make use of the lodge for local celebrations and gathering, such as theHillsborough Arts Council and the Hillsborough Historical Society. In December, the lodge opens its doors for tours during the annual Hillsborough Candlelight Tour.
In 2006, the Grand Lodge elected to feature Eagle Lodge #19 on their annual dues cards. The spectacular picture
used for the occasion was taken by Ric Carter, the official photographer and editor of the North Carolina Mason
while suspended 80 feet in the air. From this angle, the lodge’s classic Greek Revival lines can be seen quite well!
Currently, Eagle Lodge is undergoing extensive renovations and repairs to ensure that future generations of North
Carolinians from all walks of life can continue to enjoy our building for fun, fellowship and learning.
If you would like to donate or volunteer to help out in these efforts, please feel free to contact us. If you
are interested in learning more about Freemasonry including how to become a Mason please feel free to use our contact form.