Prior to 1966, International Masons and Order of Stars as a formal organization were non-existent in the State of Arkansas. Men and Women who were interested in becoming members of the order and resided in Arkansas, attended meetings and functions in the state of Texas. More specifically, Texarkana, Texas.
On September 9, 1966, several of the Arkansas Masons met at the Little River District Baptist Associations’ A.W. Williams District center in Richmond, Arkansas, for forming the first official, Legal Constituted Lodge on International Free and Accepted Modern Masons in the state of Arkansas. Companion L.F. Henderson of Ashdown, Arkansas Supreme Recruiting Deputy for the territory, represented the Supreme Office and presided over the meeting. The Master Masons present agreed to petition the Supreme Office, located in Detroit, Michigan, for a charter, granting them permission to work.
The voting members present agreed to name the new lodge L.F. Henderson Lodge as a token of appreciation for the leadership guidance and financial support of the honoree.
The first officers were:
L.F. Henderson – Worshipful Master
Bennie Griffin – Senior Warden
Richard Beard – Junior Warden
Rufus Deloney – Financial Secretary
Joe N. Griffin, Sr. – Treasurer
James Jackson – Junior Deacon
Phillip Jones, Sr. – Senior Steward
Tennyson Block – Junior Steward
Thedious O’Guinn – Tyler
Lenix Burns, Sr. - Chaplain
The newly formed Lodge was chartered by its headquarters, International Free & Accepted Modern Masons, Inc. 2101 Gratiot Ave., Detroit Michigan 48207 on September 16, 1966. On September 19, 1966, the 10 founding Craftsmen purchased (4) small lots located at the intersection of Olive and Pine Prairie Road, later South Second Street now Dr. M. L. Drive, in the city of Ashdown, Arkansas for a building site from Mrs. Ada McGee Washington for $700. Each Craftsman donated his available cash to the cause. A total of $500 was raised. Then, the W.M. Companion L. F. Henderson loaned the Craft the balance needed, which was $200. In order to purchase the property. The new Lodge held its regular communications in the Ladies Club House on West Wood Street in the city of Ashdown until it could build on its property.
During the spring of 1967, the lodge purchased an old house from Lester Lewis, who lived southeast of the Arden Community. The members of the craft tore the house down and kept all of the best lumber, windows and doors to be used in the construction of a building for temporary meeting purposes and to become a cafeteria when the permanent meeting structure was built. At this time, the same building is being used for meeting purposes.
During the course of the past 44 years, the L. Fl. Henderson Lodge Hall Building has served the Black Community in many ways. The building served as a place of worship for the Freeman Chapel A.M.E Church during their rebuilding program as well as the Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ during its formative years as well as during its two building programs. The building has also served as a meeting place for 4-H and Scouting groups, as well as many community, civic, and political groups and individuals.
Under the Leadership of L. F. Henderson Lodge #1, Lodges have been organized in Pine Bluff, Arkadelphia, Camden, Tollette, Ogden, Fordyce, Magnolia, and Waldo Arkansas. As well as Dallas and Texarkana, Texas.
The L. F. Henderson Lodge has been active in the community in many ways. Financial support to the Ashdown, City Park, Arkansas 4-H Campsite, volunteer and financial support to local school projects, Christmas Gifts to needy children, Fruit, for patients in local nursing homes and aid to families in adverse situations.
During its 44 year history L. F. Henderson Lodge # International Masons, Inc. has laid Cornerstones at the following churches:
Bright Star Baptist Church, Schaal , Arkansas
Cedar Springs Baptist Church, Ashdown, Arkansas
Scott Memorial C M E Church, Texarkana, Arkansas,
New Zion Baptist Church, Richmond, Arkansas,
New Zion Baptist Church, Lockesburg, Arkansas
Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, Texarkana, Texas,
Friendship Baptist Church, Texarkana, Texas,
Red Oak Grove Baptist Church, Ashdown, Arkansas, (two occasions)
Community Freewill Baptist Church, Ashdown, Arkansas
Haney Creek Baptist Church, Ashdown, Arkansas.
Freeman Chapel Baptist Church in Ashdown Arkansas.
Last but not least, L. F. Henderson # 1 also tested, tried and laid its own Corner Stone during 1997. The stone was donated to the lodge by Dr. L. F. Henderson.