Rising Sun Lodge #39 was instituted on June 13, 1822 by dispensation of the Most Worshipful Joshua Darling, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, as the 39th Masonic lodge in the State. The town was originally known as Dunstable, having separated from Dunstable, MA. Dunstable was small, having one store, several inns, and a few saw mills.
The first lodge meetings were held in the private residence of John Hunt. Lodge meetings moved to other buildings as Nashua grew; notably The Nashua Literary Institution, the Hunt Building, and the Nutt Building. In 1889, Rising Sun, along with other Masonic bodies raised capital to build the current Masonic Temple.
Rising Sun Lodge has had many prominent members, including doctors, bankers, railroad presidents, postmasters, five judges, seventeen mayors, state representatives, a state attorney-general, and a governor.
From 1822 to 1837, the Lodge met on Wednesday afternoons. From 1837 till 1964 Rising Sun was a “Moon Lodge” meeting on the Wednesday night closest to the full moon; the practical Yankees knowing that they and their horses could navigate home by the light of the Full Moon.
Rising Sun has participated in many cornerstone laying and dedications in Nashua. These include the Olive Street Church in Nashua Village, the Main Street Methodist Episcopal Church, the old Nashua Court House, the current Masonic Temple, and the General John Stark monument in Manchester Rising Sun remains active in community affairs. Among its charitable work, it helps in supporting the Tolles Street Mission and the Nashua Children’s Home. It promotes literacy in the elementary schools through the “Bikes for Books” program. The lodge cleans a two-mile section of Route 102 by Alvirne High School in Hudson. It has also marched in the Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades.