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Grand Lodge to host rededication of Friendship Tower on July 6
Your Grand Lodge will host the 100th Anniversary and Rededication Celebration of Mt. Roosevelt and Friendship Tower on July 6, 2019 at the site above the Lodge of Deadwood. This will be a Territorial event with participation from both South and North Dakota Grand Lodges. Coordination continues with the National Forest Service, Historic Preservation Committee, City of Deadwood and the Masons to ensure proper recognition and dedication are accomplished. A new Rededication Plaque with an Interpretive Panel will be installed showing the Masonic connections. Many historic figures played into the development of the Friendship Tower which starts with the fellowship between Seth Bullock and Theodore Roosevelt meeting on the prairie in 1884. Roosevelt was serving as Deputy Sheriff from Medora, ND and Bullock was Deputy United States Marshal at the time. The two lawmen shared coffee and beans on the rangelands near Belle Fourche and quickly formed a friendship that would last the rest of their lives. When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, Bullock volunteered as one of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and was named a Captain of “Troop A” in Grigsby’s Cowboy Regiment. After his short time in the war, Bullock was always referred to as “Captain.” When Teddy was elected president, Bullock organized a group of 50 cowboys, including Tom Mix, to ride in the President’s Inaugural Parade in 1905. Later that year, Roosevelt appointed Seth Bullock as the United States Marshal for South Dakota, a position he held for the next nine years. When Roosevelt died in January 1919, it was a terrible blow to Bullock. Soon Seth enlisted the help of the Society of Black Hills Pioneers to erect a monument to the deceased president. Additionally George Ayres, the first Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota, was head of the Society of Black Hills Pioneers for many years. Friendship Tower was dedicated on July 4, 1919 and was the first monument in this country erected to Theodore Roosevelt. Other Masonic Brothers who participated in the establishment of the Friendship Tower besides Bullock included Peter Norbeck, Governor of SD; General Leonard Wood, Keynote Speaker at the dedication; and many local Masons. Mark your calendars for the 100th Anniversary and Rededication Ceremony – a Historic event showing the influence of Masonry in South Dakota. Fraternally, Harold Ireland, DGM