On December 30, 1887, a charter was granted to Tillman Lodge #19 under the hand and seal of the Most Worshipful Grand Master John D. Campbell, and PM William H. Tillman was the first Worshipful Master.
William H. Tillman was the second founding Pastor of Wheat Street Baptist Church and was instrumental in having the church built on Wheat Street (now Auburn Ave). Because tradition would dictate that a Lodge cannot be named after a living person, two years after Tillman Lodge #19 was chartered; a petition was made for a new charter with a new name to the Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons for the State of Georgia (held in the Masonic Hall, N. Broad St, Atlanta, Ga. July 1st thru July 4th 1889).
On July 13, 1889, a dispensation was granted and the name of the lodge was officially changed to Gate City Lodge #42 since the City of Atlanta was known as the “Gate City”. Atlanta was called “the Gateway city to the South” since 1857 because of the railroad connection from Memphis to Charleston.
Gate City Lodge #42 continued to meet and operate under the original charter issued to Tillman Lodge #19 until Past Master Lawrence Johnson in June of 1989 petitioned the Grand Lodge to receive the new Charter with the name of Gate City on it that was never received back in 1889. The request was made at the Grand Lodge communication in the city of Augusta.
Gate City Lodge #42 was the 3rd Masonic Lodge chartered in Atlanta for men of African-American descent and has taken its’ rightful place among the five original Atlanta lodges and today is one of the best in the South.
Moses Amos, Georgia’s first black pharmacist, proprietor of Gate City Drug Store.
In the modest, wooden building at 184 Auburn Avenue(New Odd Fellows Building), Georgia’s first black pharmacist, Moses Amos, operated Gate City Drug Store, where his staff of six tended to brisk business. He initially bought the business with his partners, Thomas Heathe Slater, and PGM H.R. Butler in 1914. Amos, a member of the Gate City Lodge No. 42 as well the National Negro Business League, was a prominent member of the black business and civic community.
HONORARY PAST GRAND MASTER RALPH KEMP, SR.
Past Master Ralph Kemp, Sr. was bestowed by Past Grand Master Bruce A. James the title and rank of Honorary Past Grand Master (“HPGM”) this was a historical event, and PGM James was the first Grand Master in Prince Hall Georgia jurisdiction to give such a high esteemed title to Past Master Ralph Kemp, Sr. HPGM Kemp, Sr. devoted his life to Masonry, and he attended 69 Grand Sessions straight and was the longest standing Grand Lodge Officer. HPGM Kemp, Sr. was the Grand Director of the Past Master Degree up until his passing. He served in many leadership positions from Illustrious Potentate of Nabar Temple No. 128 through heads of houses on the York Rite and Scottish Rite side, because of his dedication to the craft HPGM Ralph Kemp, Sr. has many organizations and scholarships name after him in his honor including our very own Ralph Kemp, Sr. Knight of Pythagoras Council No. 42.
Interview of HPGM Ralph Kemp, Sr. and PM Kemp (son):
Honorary Past Grand Master Ralph Kemp, Sr. as the Worshipful Master of Gate City Lodge No. 42. In the year 1978.
PM Raymond Solomon as WM of Gate City Lodge No. 42 in 1979.