The Grand Lodge website of Alabama.

100px-alabama_state_sealThe Grand Lodge of Alabama is the first stop on the tour of American Grand Lodges.

Alabama Masonic membership:
30,952 – 2006
29,775 – 2007
gain/loss  -  1,177

data from MSANA

State population – 4,627,851 as of 2007,

About the Grand Lodge:

Founded June 11, 1821, previous charters in the state had been issued by the grand Lodges of Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee.  Alabama is one of a few states to have a Wikipedia entry with this information.

The website is very straight forward in that most of the active links live right on its front page.  The site is built on a simple HTML architecture which allows some flexibility in the overall structure and content.  The plus is that if there is a desire to add something, it just needs to be hand coded in, the down side is that it needs to be hand coded in which can be time consuming for the coder.  I tip my hat to the person maintaining the site, as I know the monumental challenges that it can be to manage just such a project.

The Grand Lodge of Alabama website

The Grand Lodge of Alabama website

Some of what I found on my excursion there:

At the time of my visit on March 18th, there were three updated messages, two of which were from January 2009, and one from December of 08.

From the main page, there is a wide selection of links and content to spend some time on.  I did find the “how do I” link an interesting addition to help those not familiar with how to navigate a web site to find what they be interested in finding.  Some may overlook this or trivialize it as unnecessary, but with an older member base unfamiliar with the web this could be an excellent tool to guide users through the operation.  The “how do I” list covers everything from reporting a members passing to finding lodge events.  This latter item is an excellent feature and precursors to a state calendar, but it keeps those interested in knowing what is going on informed.

The only draw back to some of this deeper site navigation was the inconsistency of the page layout from the sites original style and layout navigation.  This is purely a cosmetic function though as the content is pertinent.  I mention this as these aspects are important when visitors are perusing the site and want to jump around to various locations.

From the top level site, another inconsistency I found is the diversity of file types being linked to.  What I noticed were links to PDF’s, text files, word files, and other off site links for information.  In some situations this practice is ok, but unless the originating site has consistency, it interjects another random element into an experience.  An option may be to translate the various file types right into text and drop it into the HTML.  That way all the info is searchable and simple to pull.

One thing I will say about the site is that it contains a lot of information and that it has a site map.  So if you are really looking for something, you can go right to the map to find it.

My only disappointment in the site is that it doesn’t say much about Masonry’s relationship to the state or to its members.  This is more of an aesthetic opinion about the site rather than a functional one, when looking at it through the eyes of a first time visitor, especially in a state as vibrant and beautiful as Alabama.  There isn’t much visually to say “this is Alabama Masonry” which misses the opportunity to hammer home the first impression from the digital enquirer.

Another area of concern, to me, is the degree of personal information posted on some of the pages.  Again, this a personal call but it leaves open the opportunity for spam or unwanted correspondence.

One question that the site does not seem to readily address is a strong answer to the 2be1ask1 invitation.  In the event that a young Alabamian man ventures into the site, there is not an immediate means to get more information, or to have the question of “who to ask” in the 2be1 proposition.

Overall, the site is sound and communicates what it needs to communicate.  What seems to be missing is just the flavor Alabama Masonry.

Next – the Grand Lodge of Alaska

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About Masonic Traveler

An artist by nature and vocation, Greg pursued the sublime degrees of Freemasonry in 1994. A 3rd degree Master and a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, Greg is the author of the ebook What is Freemasonry and the print book Masonic Traveler.

Read more about Greg Stewart.

Comments

  1. Well, you’ve set yourself up for at least 49 more articles
    :-)

    Actually, this ties into something that I’ve been exploring in Conn, about what a GL website should actually be or offer to the members and public.

  2. deborah k brubaker says:

    I would like to ask a question, my father was a mason and I would like to know how do I fnd out how far he went in the ranks of the masons.also I have a grown son who wants to become a mason how or what does he have to do to become a member.My father has just recently past away.we live in graysville alabama.I was told in order to becom a member you have to have someone support you, If your granddad has passed how do you meat someone who will support you? Please I understand this is a secret society and swear to only speak to my son but could someone lead me in the rite direction. thank you deborah [jackson] brubaker my dads name was roy louis jackson also I heard there is a lodge here in graysville and maybe I can find out what I want to know will yu please tell me where to find this place.

  3. charles p cates says:

    I have called the secretary of East Lake Lodge #480 and ask for a dues notice several times. I now want to demit from this lodge. I should have not gone thru with it after Uncle (Harold Cates DGM 1979) passed. I have been a Mason for 31yrs and never have I seen such bad service. Please just delete me from your records. Thank you kindly.

  4. Outstanding job on the redesign of the grand lodge website!
    Just a reminder to those in south alabama, to visit us at http://www.GulfCoastMasons.com for all news and work along the Alabama Coast!

  5. Bruce Patterson says:

    Two comments: 1. Alabama’s Grand Lodge has updated it’s website to a more modern look. 2. I see Deborah Brubaker’s comment above from a year ago. Although it is old and, hopefully, her son has connected with a lodge, my lodge, Brooklin #704 in Dora, AL is within 10 miles of Graysville. I will be happy to speak with her son. I can be reached through email at blp4779@gmail.com

  6. Kathy Wood says:

    Trying to locate information on two of my relatives. Great grandfather John Robert Haynes b. 1877 and Fourth Great gradfather William Haynes b. 1808 both lived in Clay Co Ala and were Masons. I have a newpaper article from Jul 21 1900 that states William Haynes was “buried in Chulafinee by the Masons of which he was a true and honored member”. I would be extremely thankful for any information that you may be able to share.

    Thank You!!

  7. Im trying to find out any info about my grandfather….He was a member at the Scottsboro lodge…His name was Ralph H. Crisp Sr. Thank you in advance for anything you can share about him

  8. Ralph m crisp where you located

  9. Noah……I live in Spartanburg S.C. …but spent many summers at my grandfathers home……on the tennessee river at b b comer bridge….I remember my grandfather being very involved in masons …going to many lodges in alabama..to conduct meetings….just wondered if anybody here remembered him….thanks

  10. Got a lot of friends in scottsboro lodge I’ll ask

  11. thank you Noah..
    He died June 1977…if that helps

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