History of LaFayette Lodge No. 27 F&AM
LaFayette Lodge No. 27, named in honor of Major General Marquis de Lafayette, received its original charter at the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge on November 9, 1824.
LaFayette Lodge was so named because at the time our Brethren were contemplating the formation of a Masonic Lodge in Rahway, New Jersey, Lafayette was on his farewell visit to the United States and was escorted through Rahway, New Jersey on August 24, 1824. In the beginning, LaFayette Lodge was LaFayette Lodge No. 49 and operated from 1824 until a decline in active masonry caused the Lodge to cease it’s work in 1841.
In 1853, LaFayette Lodge resumed operation and was re-chartered in January 11, 1854 as LaFayette Lodge No. 27. LaFayette Lodge moved between several locations prior to settling in the well-known building in the heart of Rahway in which LaFayette Lodge No. 27 currently resides. The Lodge first began meeting in the Unity Lodge Rooms, relocated to the Essex County Lodge of Odd Fellows in 1858, then in 1869 moved to the third floor of the newly erected Rahway Savings Institution in the aptly named “LaFayette Hall.”
LaFayette Lodge remained in LaFayette Hall until 1904, when a committee was created to select a new location for the permanent home of LaFayette Lodge No. 27. This location is the location in which the Lodge currently sits, at 1550 Irving Street, in the heart of downtown Rahway. The Cornerstone for the new building was laid in proper Masonic fashion on June 14, 1924. The Cornerstone, presented by Jerusalem Temple No. 721 of Cornwall, New York, was a cut stone from the ruins of General Marquis de LaFayette’s former headquarters in New Windsor, New York.
LaFayette Lodge experienced tremendous growth following World War II. Servicemen returning home from the war flocked to lodges seeking to forge close bonds as they had during the war, as a result, Freemasonry flourished. This upward trend continued through the 1950s and 1960s.
In 2004, LaFayette merged with Raritan-Americus Lodge No. 61 of Carteret, New Jersey.
In 2006, LaFayette Lodge merged with Cornerstone-Tyrian No. 229 of Linden, New Jersey.
During the summer of 2014, LaFayette Lodge celebrated its 160th anniversary, which was attended by the Mayor of Rahway and other city officials, and featured a Masonic speaker. The hightlight of the day was the dedication of the square in front of the Lodge building, which is now known as "LaFayette Square." A sign was also placed at the square displaying a brief history of Major General Lafayette.