By Donald B. Morgan, P.M.
Noting its 219th anniversary this month, Perseverance Lodge No. 21 in Harrisburg is the oldest Masonic Lodge in continuous existence outside of Philadelphia and the oldest lodge in Dauphin County. The Lodge was constituted on Nov. 10, 1779 in an area that was then called "Pextang," where the Susquehannock Indians lived in villages made up of communal houses. Pextang encompassed a large area which is now known as Harrisburg, the state capital.
In 1785, John Harris, son of the first settler on the site of Harrisburg, hired William McClay (who was the first U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania) to lay out a plot plan for a town. Harris allotted a square of four acres to the State of Pennsylvania "... for such purposes as the government may apply the same ...." Pennsylvania's State Capitol now stands on those grounds. The town grew and was incorporated into a borough on Apr. 13, 1791, and finally as a city on Mar. 19, 1860.
During the nearly 220 years of the Lodge's existence, two Grand Masters, a Grand Secretary, at least 15 D.D.G.M.s were members of Perseverance.