Morrison's Masonic Lodge - Elizabethtown, KY
Morrison Lodge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. It is a three story brick building built in 1913. The lodge was chartered on August 26, 1823 and was one of the first chartered Masonic Lodges in Kentucky. It is named for James Morrison, and American Revolution veteran and founder of the Great Lodge of Kentucky. A number of the members of the lodge were part of the Civil War and when the war ended many because city and state leaders, judges and politicians. Early masters included Benjamin Helm and Governor John L. Helm.
This area was during it's birth was frequented by the prehistoric and native American peoples. When white pioneers came to settle, the area was a favored hunting ground for the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Shawnee Indians. They grew patches of corn in the clearings also. The first group that arrived were a group of Virginians led by Samuel Pearson. After exploring several sections, they withdrew after hostile encounters with the Indians. A permanent settlement didn't come until 1779 when a group led by John Severns settled here. Kentucky became the Union's 15th state on June 1, 1792. In 1793, Colonel Andrew Hynes laid out streets and a public square. Hyne's community would then become Elizabethtown, named for his wife, Elizabeth Warford Hynes.
During the Civil War, Elizabethtown was a strategic transportation line for the Union army. It was the target for many Confederate raids during the war. In December 1862, John Hunt Morgan's raiders captured the town of Upton and the telegraph operator send misleading info to the federal officials. Morgan later went on to capture the garrison at Nolin before moving onto Elizabethtown. During Morgan's assault, at lease one cannonball struck the Lodge. During this time, the building was used to house prisoners and as a field hospital for wounded. After shelling the town the Union Troops surrendered and Morgan proceeded to capture an burn several important bridges north of Elizabethtown. A second major raid on the railroad was mounted in 1864 by Confederate troops under the command of General H.B. Lyons. Lyons captured a train at Nolin station and later successfully attacked and captured Elizabethtown. Lyons retreated from the county after burning several bridges and railroad buildings.
Elizabethtown became a very important town after the Civil War for trading and as a rail center with a population of several thousand. This increase in growth and overall development in the county was the result of the L&N Railroad and the building of the Elizabethtown and Paducah railroad. Elizabethtown grew rapidly as a rail and commercial center with seventy homes being recorded as constructed in 1869. A major blow was dealt to Elizabethtown commerce in August of 1869 when a fire in the stable of the Eagle House Hotel spread out of control and burned much of the public square. Before the blaze was subdued, 15 buildings were destroyed and another 11 buildings were damaged. Losses were estimated at $125,000.
From 1860 to 1880 the population of Elizabethtown jumped from 556 to 2,526. This increase was due primarily to the community's increasing role as a commercial and rail center. The Elizabethtown and Paducah Railroad opened shops and offices in the community and many new businesses were opened as a result of this increase in rail traffic. Unfortunately, no intact buildings associated with the railroad from this period remain. In addition to the new commerce a large brick courthouse was constructed in 1873. This courthouse was built in the middle of the public square and stood until it was destroyed by fire in 1932.
Sometime around 1911, there was another fire that caused a tremendous amount of damage to the Lodge and the current building was rebuilt in it's place.
The building is reported to have Paranormal activity. It is said to have a few spirits that occupy the building. During the 1940s, three deaths took place at Morrison Lodge. One of the deaths was a member of the Lodge, who collapsed during a ceremony of an apparent heart attack. The other two deaths were of women. One of them died in a dentist's chair (who worked in the building) when she succumbed to an allergic reaction to anesthetic and the other woman died of a heart attack. It is thought that those deaths – and the Civil War – created the haunting that plagues the building. It appeared on an episode of "Haunted Collector" and has been visited by many other groups such as Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, Destination Truth and Paranormal State.
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