The Brethren of John J. Mercer Lodge No. 290 believe that while there are many different paths a Freemason may follow – educational, ritual, community, philanthropy, etc. – the best way to observe the Craft is through a Brotherhood focused on learning and understanding our ritual and then applying its teachings to ourselves and to the communities in which we live.

To that end, Mercer places a strong emphasis on tangible Masonic education and are purposeful in the selection of candidates to join us in this great and good work. In order to effectively describe this group of Freemasons, the term “Mercer Man” or “Mercer Men” was coined with the simple aim of “travelling upon the level” in all our Masonic practices.

The Lodge’s namesake, John Jackson (J.) Mercer, was Grand Master of Nebraska in 1890. Mercer said that lodges who devote time to perfecting ritual “are the ones whose members are those with whom the burdened heart may pour out its sorrows and to whom distress may proffer its suit with the best prospect of receiving a favorable answer.”



John J. Mercer Lodge No. 290, as owner of the Benson Masonic Temple, in the Creative District of Benson (Omaha, NE), has grown to be a staple in their local community.

The “Mercer Men” have partnered with Benson First Friday (BFF) on numerous occasions. More recently developing a partnership to open their dining hall to BFF for the Artist Markets to continue in the winter time. During these First Fridays, the Mercer Men hand-make breakfast burritos and sell them to customers of BFF, patrons, and passersby as a fundraiser for the Lodge to help maintain the building, maintenance and utility costs.

Be on the lookout for a new annual public fundraising event coming to the Benson Masonic Temple, hosted by the Mercer Men in 2024!


John J. Mercer Lodge No. 290 was started in 1914 with the name Benson Lodge UD (Under Dispensation) and was eventually chartered by the Grand Lodge of Nebraska the following year.

We are named after Captain John Jackson Mercer (1833-1915) who was the 24th Grand Master of Masons in Nebraska.

Our Lodge first met in the Odd Fellows Hall in Benson until erecting our own building in 1926 and have lived here on 59th and Maple, in the Creative District of Benson, ever since.

What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry, or ‘Masonry’ is the world’s oldest and largest fraternity of men who base themselves on the code of ethics of the builders of King Solomon’s Temple.

Its more than four million worldwide members come from every walk of life, and virtually every nation on Earth.

The purpose of Freemasonry is “to make good men better”. To become a Mason, a man must have a belief in a benevolent Supreme Being, a good reputation among his fellow men, and a sincere desire for self-improvement.

The Ceremonies, Lectures, and Symbols of Masonry are designed to impart the time-honored wisdom of morality, and to inspire true friendship, compassion, and brotherly love.