In 1860, a group of Freemasons from Monoville discovered gold here and organized the Masonic Mining District. Overshadowed by the booms at Aurora and Bodie, little development was done at that time. The big excitement came after the Fourth of July, 1902, when partners John Stuart Phillips, Caleb Dorsey and John M. Bryan located a rich gold strike which they called the Pittsburg-Liberty, in honor of the holiday and Phillips' hometown. Ore from their find assayed at up to $800/ton, and soon other claims were rapidly staked in the district. As people flocked to Masonic Gulch, three distinct townsites came into being. The first was Lorena, also called Upper Town due to its position highest in the gulch. Below was Middle Town, and finally Caliveda (home of the Pittsburg-Liberty), which soon became Lower Town. By early 1906, the three were consolidated to form 'Masonic.'

In September 1907, a new ten-stamp mill was opened at the Pittsburg-Liberty. By the end of the year, Masonic was home to nearly 1000 residents and numerous businesses. Lower Town had the Jeffry Hotel and two saloons, Middle Town had a livery stable, boarding house, Frank L. Wedertz Butcher Shop, and Harvey Boone & Son General Store. There were no churches or brothels, however, and despite its name, no fraternal organizations could be found either. In October 1908, a new cyanide plant was completed.

In 1910, the new Chilian Mill was erected by the Pittsburg-Liberty and the following year the first school was opened. By this point, however, Masonic's peak had passed. The Pittsburg-Liberty was involved in litigation and the mills were losing money. By the end of 1911, Middle Town had only one resident; Upper Town was vacant. Nevertheless, a new discovery at the Serita Mine in January 1912 renewed interest. The next year Fred & George Stall purchased both the Serita and Pittsburg-Liberty holdings, returned the original mill to working condition, and installed a new cable tramway connecting to the Serita. By 1920, however, the mill was idle. Through the 1920s, only intermittent work was done, and by the 1950s, Masonic was abandoned.

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