BUFFALO BILL AND THE MASONIC FRATERNITY
A "gold rusher" who traveled through Golden as a youth in 1860, William Frederick Cody gained international fame as Buffalo Bill throughout the 19th century bringing the West to America and Europe through his shows. But a lesser known fact is that Buffalo Bill was a lifelong member of the fraternity known as the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. Cody was active in the A.F. & A.M. for nearly 47 years beginning with his initiation at Platte Valley Lodge No. 32 in North Platte, Nebraska. He became an "Entered Apprentice" on 5 March 1870; passed to the degree of a "Fellowcraft" on 2 April 1870 and raised to the sublime degree of a "Master Mason" on 10 January 1871. Ironically, Cody died in Denver, Colorado, 10 January 1917, 46 years to the day he became a Master Mason. He became a "Knight Templar" (York Rite) in 1889 and later received his 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite in 1894. Although he died in January, 1917, his burial was on 3 June 1917 in a grave atop Lookout Mountain. His burial service was conducted by his Masonic brothers from Golden City Lodge No. 1 and was overseen by the Lodge’s Worshipful Master George W. Parfet Jr. (for whom Parfet Park is named).
Some of Golden’s earliest arrivals seeking the fellowship of the Fraternity, formed Golden Lodge in 1858 when the area was still part of the Territory of Kansas. The Lodge was renamed Golden City Lodge Number 1 with the creation of the Colorado Territory in 1860; it is the only one of three originally chartered Lodges of the new Territory still active. With a charter dating to 17 October 1860 Golden City Lodge No. 1 is the oldest in Colorado. Members of the Lodge are inextricably tied to the City of Golden’s vibrancy, business and economic successes. Some of these past members include surnames of: Parfet, Burgess, Drew, Foss, Mitchell, Rooney, Rubey and Tripp.
The Lodge is still helping men "be the best they can be" through their activities. Further, Freemasonry’s benevolences include the York Rite’s Knights Templar eye foundation, the Scottish Rite’s hearing impairment and learning disability centers and the Shriner’s Children’s Hospitals and Burn Centers. Additionally, the Fraternity oversees wholesome programs for children and young adults, including DeMolay for boys (ages 9 to 21), Job’s Daughters for girls (ages 10-20) and Rainbow for Girls (ages 11-20). The Order of the Eastern Star and the Amaranth are for adult women. The OES supports local charities and Assistance Dogs for those in need. Golden City Lodge No. 1 has for several years provided a free "Child Identification" program to assist families with computerized information, including a photo, fingerprints, and a DNA collection sampling technique, for each of their children. See the Masonic tents at Parfet Park to take advantage of this free service and to learn more about the many Masonic programs for men, women, boys and girls.