Hobson Lodge #23 F&A Prince Hall Masons was founded May 10, 1871 in Manchester, VA. Charter members were such outstanding men as Ballard T. Edwards, William Henry Hughes, J.H. Cunningham, Henry Randolph, William Randolph, Thomas Hewlett, Edward Dickens, Rev. Richard Wells, and Richard Baker. These men, having branched out from their Mother Lodge Social #6, were given superb leadership by Brother Robert Hobson; in whose honor the Lodge was named. Bro. Ballard T. Edwards was chosen to carry the mantle as the first Worshipful Master of the Lodge.
The stage was set for the destiny of this grand old Lodge, nearly one hundred fifty years ago by the strong association of men bound together in their struggle to attain all that is noble, desiring only that which was true, and loved and practiced virtue for its intrinsic worth. Throughout the Lodge's history, a consistently large membership has been maintained and delinquent members have been reinstated. Worshipful Masters of Hobson Lodge #23, whose membership is one hundred eight, have repeatedly stressed proficiency in regular communications, degree work and the last rites for deceased brethren. The leadership of Hobson Lodge#23 has been felt not only in the 26th Masonic District, but throughout the entire Jurisdiction of Virginia. Hobson Lodge #23 has always been engaged in constructive community activities, such as working with School P.T.A.s, laying Corner Stones for Church construction, and constantly helping worthy causes such as the United Negro College Fund, N.A.A.C.P., civic organizations, and encouraging the public to register and vote.
Hobson Lodge #23 can reflect with pride on the numerous "firsts" that have been initiated by its Past Masters in the 26th Masonic District. Such achievements have included organizing a Masonic School, cooperative celebrations, annual banquets, publicinstallation of officers and programs held jointly with the Order of Eastern Stars.
In addition, Hobson Lodge #23 has not failed to carry out its obligations to widows, orphans, sick & distressed brethren, and to the Grand Lodge.
Hobson Lodge perhaps realized its greatest triumph during the eras when three of its members, PM William Henry Hughes, PM Dr. James Haywood Blackwell, and PM Rev. Dr. William Lee Ransome served as Most Worshipful Grand Masters of the Jurisdiction of Virginia.
In 1991, nearly twenty years ago, our latest dream came true. Under the leadership of Worshipful Master Craig Walton, the Craft journeyed by motorcade from our former temple, 1101 Decatur St., to our newly built temple at 1801 Robinview Drive. Our weekend Celebration included the Dedication by the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Virginia Willie E. Massenburg and a Banquet, which was attended by an overflow crowd of more than 450 guests in our banquet hall.
The acquisition of a newly built temple, debt free, was the result of a decade of long range planning under the watchful eyes of Brothers Archie Parker and Joshua Crumm. Funding for this "labor of love" was led by Past Master Willie Williams, Chairman; assisted by Past Master William Parker, Co-Chair, Robert "LilBro" Lewis and host of other Brethren of the Lodge. During this decade of planning over $40,000 was given to charity. The cornerstone for the new building was laid during the administration of Past Master Roger Conway.
In 2005, Hobson Lodge #23 petitioned the City Of Richmond to change the name of the street on which the lodge is located from Robinview Dr to Prince Hall Drive. The request was granted, and on February 11, 2006, a celebration of the street renaming was held at Hobson Lodge #23, which is not located at 801 Prince Hall Drive in the City Of Richmond. The Virginia House of Delegates on March 10, 2006 and Virginia Senate on March 11, 2006 agreed to a Joint Resolution that the General Assembly hereby celebrate and commemorate the lifetime achievements of Prince Hall and commend Hobson Lodge #23 for its successful effort to honor the memory of Prince Hall. It was further resolved that the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of the resolution for presentation to Anthony L. Brown, Worshipful Master of Hobson Lodge #23, as an expression of the General Assembly's congratulations and best wishes.