Masonic Temple

Another of the historic buildings that has a place in the collection is that of the Masonic temple. Built in 1897, it was reported to have been the first temple erected only for Masonic purposes west of the Mississippi. At the time it was built, it would have been located opposite of the Grain Palace on grounds that were surrounded by an ornamental iron fence. The building was three stories high, made of white brick trimmed with Lake Superior sandstone.

Always a very symbolic and secretive organization, the inside of the Masonic temple was decorated accordingly. For example, the keystone of the arch over the inner door was reportedly composed of stone from Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. Also included in the impressive decoration was a massive banquet room with ceilings over 14 feet in height that was perfect for hosting Masonic programs, and in order to retain that secrecy already mentioned, the ground floor of the building was arranged so that the lodge room parts could be entirely shut off by closing and locking only two doors.

At the time the Masonic temple was constructed, the only people who were really involved were men who were not Catholic. In 1916, however, there was a massive remodeling project, and the ladies of the Eastern Star became a little bit more involved. There was a new kitchen, a sun porch, and the current ladies’ parlor was enlarged. These renovations cost an estimated $20,000, and the building was ready for the re-dedication ceremony where over 300 masons were in attendance. Since then, things have apparently continued to go well for the Masons, since the Masonic temple may still be found on Main street just behind the Methodist church here in Aberdeen.

Other useful links:
The Scottish Rite
Aberdeen Shriners
Exploring Brown County
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