The organization of Social Lodge No. 1, which incidentally marked the introduction of Prince Hall Masonry in the District of Columbia, began with the efforts of thirty African-American Masons under the leadership of John W. Prout.
In 1825 these men, all Master Masons having been raised in Pennsylvania, petitioned the African Lodge of North America in Philadelphia for a warrant setting apart a lodge in the District of Columbia (see inside front cover). The prayers of their petition were granted and the lodge was duly chartered and constituted June 6, 1825, under the title and denomination of Social Lodge No. 7 of Washington, DC .
The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania appointed the following men as the first officers of the lodge: John W. Prout, Worshipful Master; Francis Datcher, Senior Warden; William Jackson, Junior Warden; William C. Costin, Secretary; Moses Liverpool, Treasurer; William Wormey, Senior Deacon, and Lloyd Nichols, Junior Deacon.
The growth of the lodge was slow due to the suspicions of the slaveholders, which was not entirely unfounded, since much of the lodge's time was spent in assisting on the Underground Railroad, those Africans held as slaves to escape into the free-states. During these early days, these brethren met in a lodge room located in Clark’s Row on 13th Street, between G and H Streets, NW, and later on 14th Street between C and D Streets.
By 1846 two other Masonic lodges had been established in the District of Columbia, Universal Lodge No. 10 of Alexandria, VA and Felix Lodge No. 17 of Washington, D.C. In 1848 five members of each of these three Masonic Lodges, Social, Universal and Felix, met in a convention for the purpose of organizing a Grand Lodge for the District of Columbia. As a result of their deliberations, the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia was organized on Sunday, March 27, 1848. Two members of Social Lodge were elected as officers of the new Grand Lodge, namely: Charles Datcher as the first Grand Master and Francis Datcher as the first Junior Grand Warden. The three lodges previously mentioned surrendered their old warrants and took out warrants under the new Grand Lodge. Thus, Social became No. 1, Universal No. 2; and Felix No. 3. Subsequently, Universal withdrew to assist in forming the Grand Lodge of Virginia and became the Number 1 lodge of that Jurisdiction.
Through the years Social Lodge has endeavored to remain foremost in advancing the cause of Prince Hall Masonry in the District of Columbia. She has furnished this Jurisdiction with twelve (12) Grand Masters, and as we move forward in the second decade of the new Millennium, Social Lodge prepares to celebrate One-Hundred and Ninety One (191) years of uninterrupted dedication and service to the community, and the world at large.