History of Manasseh Lodge
Manasseh Lodge No. 182 was established in the town of Manassas under dispensation on February 10th 1875 and received its charter on December 15th of that year. Several previous lodges had existed in Prince William County during the 19th century, but by 1866 they had either become extinct or moved to new locations. Nevertheless, interest remained in establishing a Masonic Lodge in the community. Masons began meeting in the home of Lieutenant William S. Chase in 1870 and eventually petitioned the Grand Lodge of Virginia to be received under dispensation in 1875. Alexandria Washington Lodge No.22 provided much support during this period and donated Masonic paraphernalia to the new lodge.
After receiving the charter Manasseh Lodge moved out of Brother Chase’s house to new quarters. Its first home was in the George Washington Hickson Building, where it resided from 1874 until 1904. Then it was relocated to the Blume building, on Center Street between Main and Battle streets where it remained until December 1905.
A significant part of the downtown area of Manassas burned on the night of December 5th 1905 when embers, thrown from a passing freight train, caught in the sleeping town. The fire resulted in the destruction of 35 homes, numerous businesses, and the loss of the original lodge paraphernalia and charter. The minutes survived because the Lodge Secretary George C. Round, the first secretary and a charter member, maintained them at their home for transcription. The Grand Lodge sent a replacement charter on December 23rd, 1905. Occoquan Lodge No.130 donated new paraphernalia at this time including the Wardens’ and Master’s chairs. During the next two years the lodge met in the First National Bank of Manassas, the building is presently occupied by a gift store and is located across the street from the Olde Towne Inn, and also occasionally met in the Presbyterian Church on Main and Church streets.
Despite the setbacks of the fire, the brethren of Manasseh Lodge persevered and built a new lodge building on the south side of Center Street between Main and Battle Streets. The cornerstone was laid in 1906 and the building was occupied by July 1907. As with most construction in old town Manassas following the fire, this edifice was made of brick. A stone square and compasses were placed at the top of the front facade. This structure followed a familiar plan by housing a business on the first floor and the lodge above it, and served as the meeting place of the lodge for nearly 70 years.
In the early 1970s it was decided that a new site was needed to house the lodge and a piece of land was donated by the widow of Brother Seine B. Cockrell on Cockrell Rd. Construction began in 1975 and was finished in 1976. Manasseh Lodge 182 has resided there to the present time.