The November 1897 meetings of the Bisbee Masonic grand bodies—including the Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter, and Grand Commandery—all of the Arizona jurisdiction were set to be one of the most magnificent of all.
The Grand Secretary wrote that the Perfect Ashlar Lodge meeting would without a doubt be more largely attended than any other that had been held in the history of Arizona The most prominent men of the Arizona Territory had notified their intentions of being present, and distinguished visitors from abroad were expected.
It was promised that most of the meetings of this grand gathering would be held in the new Masonic Hall—although preparations were underway to hold one or more meetings in the celebrated Copper Queen cavern. It was certainly considered a novel idea to hold this wondrous gathering in a mystic union down in the bowels of the earth.
It was considered one of the most beautiful caverns ever discovered and had impeccable acoustics The cavern was situated about 350 feet below the surface in the Copper Queen Mine—one of the greatest copper mines in Arizona and perhaps the world.
There was only one way to enter the cave and that was through a shaft at the mine by going down in a cage. Six men were hoisted down at a time to a level 350 feet below the surface. From there they began a long march in single file down through a winding tunnel about a half-mile.
The cave was about 150 by 250 feet in dimension and an extreme height of about 100 feet from the lowest to the highest point and lighted by electricity. A brilliant letter G three feet in height and studded by thirty-five electric lights was a thing of beauty in itself.
Since the mine worked constantly, few visitors were admitted. Fortunate newspaper men who have been allowed to feast their eyes on the meeting place were under solemn oath not to write what they had seen. The pledge was unnecessary, as no pen, however sharp, could describe the beauties of the scene.
The unique lodge room was utilized strictly in keeping with the history of the Masons, for the first Masons were the artisans of Solomon’s Temple and their meetings places was the caverns beneath Jerusalem, by them excavated in quarrying the stone for the temple.
Ben Williams, manager of the Copper Queen, ordered the interior of the great cavern to be lighted by electricity. He offered the cave as an asylum for the Masonic Grand Lodge knowing the beauties of the place would attract the visitors from foreign lands to Arizona. At that time there was not a rival of a cave know in the universe.
Discover Bisbee www.discoverbisbee.com
Arizona Haunted Sites Examiner: Debe Branning nazanaza @aol.com