In January 1902, James H. Hill Lodge No. 16 came into being as the realization of a dream by Rev. Armstead Jones. Brother Jones and several other friends met and formed the Brightwood Club. The first members were Brother John King, Henry Shamwell, William Coghill, F.M Grinnage, Daniel Wood, Edward Turner, Andrew Wood, George Brooks, and Rev. Shelton Miller.
In April 1902, a petition was made to the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge through Jud Malvin, The Most Worshipful Grand Master. A committee from the Grand Lodge made a favorable recommendation, after which a dispensation was granted and Brightwood Club became James H. Hill Lodge UD (Under Dispensation). During the annual session of the Grand Lodge in December 1903, a warrant was granted to James H. Hill Lodge.
The Lodge continued Under Dispensation until December 26, 1903, when it was duly constituted and dedicated as James H. Hill Lodge No. 16, F. & A.M., under, The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia.
The first officers of the Lodge, as named in the warrant, were Rev. Shelton Miller, Worshipful Master; Brother John King, Senior Warden; and Brother Abraham Winslow, Junior Warden.
During the depression years, James H. Hill Lodge had to struggle to survive; and on more than one occasion would have given up its charter had it not been for the dedicated members who dug into their pockets to pay assessment to the Grand Lodge, care for our widows and bury our dead.
James H. Hill Lodge No.16 has continually grown in membership. Throughout our history, we have always had the support of our Past Masters and we are very proud of them. One Past Master of note is Past Master Matthew Ellis, Jr. He was elected as Most Worshipful Grand Master for the District of Columbia, to serve for the year 1983 to 1984. Most Worshipful Past Grand Master Ellis served as Worshipful Master for the year 1971.
Since its inception, James H. Hill Lodge No.16 has celebrated several milestones. In 2003, the Lodge celebrated 100 Years in existence as Prince Hall Masons and in 2012 the Lodge also celebrated 50 years as a Charter Member of the I-95 Connection, sharing a rich history with the jurisdictions of Massachusetts, Connecticut and North Carolina.