New Feature: The Civility Project

The Web site has a new, important feature. The Civility Project now has its own page, which can be found by selecting “Programs,” and then “Civility Project” from the pull-down menu.
The Civility Project has never been needed more than today’s tumultous times. For a glimpse, please read the letter from WB Dave Meltz, the Civility Ambassador to the Grand Lodge of South Dakota, which is excerpted here:

During these trying times of the global pandemic, aggravated by political and social unrest; I implore you to reaffirm and solidify the CHARGE (entrusted with duty and responsibility) each of us received and agreed to abide by as newly initiated Entered Apprentices: “To your neighbor, in acting upon the SQUARE, and doing unto him as you wish he should do unto you”, “In the state you are to be a quiet and peaceful subject, true to your government and just to your country. You are NOT to countenance disloyalty or rebellion, but patiently submit to legal authority and conform with cheerfulness to the government of the country in which you live.”
What this charge does NOT say is that we are to be totally agreeable with everyone all the time. Disagreements and differences in views are going to happen. THIS is YOUR opportunity to be the “Better Man” you strive to be as a Brother Mason. Remind yourself that as a FELLOW CRAFT you were charged with;,”You are not to palliate (disguise the seriousness of the offense) or aggravate the offenses of your Brethren; but in the decision of every trespass against our rules, you are to judge with CANDOR, admonish with FRIENDSHIP and reprehend with JUSTICE.” And finally as a newly raised Master Mason you were charged with “In the character of a MASTER MASON you are authorized to correct the errors and irregularities of your uninformed Brethren, and to guard them against a breach of fidelity. to preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied (not spoiled or made impure) must be your constant care,...” [...continue reading...]


Grand Master’s Edict Regarding Covid-19 (Updated Sept. 30)

From: MWB Jason D. Swindler, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota
To: All Masonic Lodges and all Freemasons under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota

The original edict that was issued on July 13, 2020, will expire September 30, 2020. I have decided to allow further decisions on COVID-19 guidelines to be made by each individual Lodge under the direct guidance of the Master of that Lodge. I believe that each Lodge can decide what is best practice for conducting meetings and degree work. We are all aware of the guidelines and recommendations the CDC has provided. I believe it is worth repeating that it is everyone’s responsibility to use our best judgement to keep the the Brothers and families of Masons protected from the spread of COVID-19 in our Jurisiction.
The following are the recommendations for Lodges that are comfortable with opening and holding a Stated meeting or conducting Degree work. If your Lodge is located in a part of the State where there are increased cases of COVID-19 please use good Masonic common sense and judgment. If you are experiencing symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, shortness of breath, dizziness, etc.) please STAY HOME! Masons in the high-risk category are the sole decision makers whether or not to attend Lodge.


1. Regular Stated Lodge meetings will be allowed:
- Contact your District Master and inform him of intention to hold regular stated meetings. (REQUIRED).
- Lodges may open in any Degree
- A “social” (physical) distance of 6 feet must be maintained.
- Any Brother required to be closer than 6 feet from another Brother is highly encouraged to wear a mask. Lodges are encouraged to provide masks or encourage Members to bring their own
- Hand sanitizer must be available in numerous places in the Lodge building including entrances and exits of the building and of the Lodge room(s)
- All restrooms must contain liquid hand soap

2. Conducting Degree work will be allowed with the following stipulations:
- Contact your District Master and inform him of intention to conduct degree work. (REQUIRED)
- All Candidates, Conductors (including the SD & JD) must wear masks for protection and use hand sanitizer before and after putting the mask on or taking it off
- Any Brother required to be closer than 6 feet from another Brother or Candidate must follow the same requirements
- Hand sanitizer must be used before and after each Section
- A “social” physical distance of 6 feet must be maintained by ALL others

As Grand Master I reserve the right to update this edict at any time if the need arises. I will continue to constantly monitor the COVID-19 situation in South Dakota.
Continue to search out Light, be the Light and shine your Light my Brothers.
Jason D. Swindler  
Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota  


Leave a Lasting Legacy

From: MWB Jason D. Swindler, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota

To: All Masonic Lodges and all Freemasons under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota

HISTORICALLY THE GRAND MASTER supports the South Dakota Masonic Charities (formerly South Dakota Masonic Foundation) by sending out appeal letters throughout the Masonic year and sponsoring Table Lodges or some other function to raise funds. The charities that are included under the umbrella of South Dakota Masonic Charites (SDMC) are:
1. South Dakota Child Identification Program which provides parents and guardians what they need for an Amber Alert in case of abduction or loss of an individual.
2. Masonic Model Student Assistance Program (MMSAP) or “Save a Child Program” which provides training for school staff to recognize and assist children that are at risk.
3. Masonic Scholarship Program which provides tuition assistance for students seeking higher education.
4. SDMC Matching Grant Program which provides up to $500 in matching funds with Constituent Lodges to help fund charitable community projects.

With the current Covid-19 situation it is not known whether Table Lodges or other functions will be possible this year. I have, with the support of the Trustees and SDMC Board, decided we are going to sell face masks with all the proceeds going to SDMC as unrestricted funds so they can use the money where it is needed most. We have decided to have two separate mask designs: one is black with the Seal of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota and one is blue with the Square and Compass. We will be selling two masks (one of each design) for $30. Our goal is to keep costs as low as possible so I am hoping that each Lodge can submit an order to the Grand Lodge office and we can make one shipment to each Lodge. Individual Masons wishing to order masks may be asked to pay a separate shipping fee.

We have tried to pick nice quality masks that all South Dakota Masons will be proud to wear in Lodge or out in public. It is my hope that I can count on your support of OUR South Dakota Masonic Charities. Your participation in this fundraiser will help support SDMC in continuing our charitable work in South Dakota. As I stated before, I am doing this fundraiser separate from my appeal letter that will be presented later. I think it is important to get orders generated as soon as possible so we can order more masks if needed.
I want to personally thank you for all the work you continue to do as Masons, even in the face of a pandemic. I am proud to be a Mason and I look forward to what the future has in store for our great and noble Craft in South Dakota. As always, continue to search out Light, be the Light and shine your Light my Brothers.
Jason D. Swindler,  
Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota  


Worshipful Brother Brian Pulling Accepts Award

These Brothers were all smiles as Senior Grand Warden Dan Nace presented Worshipful Brother Brian Pulling of Minnehaha Lodge #5 with the Region A Master Builder of the Year Award for 2019-2020

The Other Masonry...

Mt. Rushmore Lodge #220 takes a field trip to learn and practice some operative masonry. EA Jeremy won the “Chip-Olympics” and won the Rough/Perfect Ashlar.



Welcome to the The Grand Lodge office and library are located at the Masonic Center in Sioux Falls.


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From the Grand Historian

George Attwood Pettigrew served as the Grand Master of Masons of South Dakota in 1918 and forty years as the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. A second cousin of Senator Richard Franklin Pettigrew, George was born in Ludlow Vermont April 6, 1858. He received a medical degree in 1882 from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and moved west to Flandreau, Dakota Territory. He was the Surgeon for the 2nd Regiment of Dakota National Guard from 1885 to 1898. He married Edora Zulette Stearns on October 19, 1887 in Troy, New York. George served as the President of the Flandreau State Bank 1891-1903. In 1903, he moved to Sioux Falls and lived at 411 South Minnesota Avenue. He was a member of the Sioux Falls School Board 1910-1918. George was instrumental in the construction of the Grand Lodge Library in Sioux Falls on Main Avenue in 1925. The building is still standing and is currently the home of Architecture Incorporated.
George’s Masonic career began in King Solomon’s Lodge No. 14, Scytheville, New Hampshire June 14, 1880. He affiliated with Flandreau Lodge No. 11, January 5, 1884, and with Unity Lodge No. 130 on November 3, 1905. He was a member of the El Riad Shrine Temple, Cyrene Commandery, No. 2, Knights Templar, the Order of the Eastern Star and the Scottish Rite. In 1889, he became the Grand Secretary of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of South Dakota and continued in the role for a quarter century. In 1894 he was selected as the Grand Recorder of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar. He was elected Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota in 1895. He continued as Grand Secretary of the grand Lodge of South Dakota until his election in 1918 as Grand Master of Masons. In 1919 he was re-elected Grand Secretary and served in the position until 1936. George Pettigrew died of a Heart Attack on April 13, 1938 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Sioux Falls.
Dr. George A. Pettigrew, ca. 1895
George L. Chesley Photographer
Siouxland Heritage Museums Photograph 1999.020.56

The painting of George Pettigrew in his Masonic regalia was painted in 1917 by portrait artist F. H. Morse (1993.14.1). The painting was donated to the Siouxland Heritage Museums in April 1993 by the Grand Lodge A.F. & A. M. of South Dakota. The painting underwent conservation by M. Randall Ash, Painting Conservator, in 1997.

- William J. Hoskins, Grand Historian

1 Kingsbury, George W., History of Dakota Territory, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1915, Vol. IV, p. 106-109
2 Tisher, Harold L., The First 100 Years of the Grand Lodge A. F. & A. M. of South Dakota 1875-1975, 1974, p. 102-103
3 “Dr. G. A. Pettigrew National Figure In Masonry, Succumbs,” The Daily Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Thursday, April 14, 1938, p. 1

More News

Read the latest South Dakota Masonic Messenger.

From the East

I would like to take a few moments to share some thoughts with all of you. I am truly honored to be serving as Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota for the ensuing year. I appreciate all the kind words of support and offers to help with projects when needed. I want to thank my.... [Continue reading...]

From the Deputy Grand Master

Brethren, “I am so humbled by my election to the position of Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master Elect” is a response all good Lodge Officers have been taught to say whenever they get elected to a new position...  [Continue reading...]


From the West

To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent on all men but more especially Masons. To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries and to restore peace to...  [Continue reading...]

From the South

As I sit here in the last leg of my trip to the Conference of Grand Masters of North America, I can’t help but think, how many other brothers are on this plane with me? The first one I noticed just happened to be sitting...  [Continue reading...]

From the Grand Treasurer-Secretary

Well, things have been interesting, to say the least, at the Grand Lodge Office. This Covid-19 pandemic has made it necessary to change how our Grand Lodge Office does business. We had to get things set up quickly so Gwen could do most of her work from home...  [Continue reading...]

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