by Michael T. Heitke, Director
In 1891, the First Presbyterian Church on Wisconsin Avenue was purchased and remodeled into a Masonic Temple. In 1915, Brothers James and Edward Law, of Law and Law Architects, drew up plans for a new Masonic Temple. World War I interrupted the plans for a new Temple. After the war, Law and Law Architects drew up new plans for an even larger Temple. In November 1922, the plans were announced to build a new Masonic Temple that would cost at least $500,000. On the afternoon of May 14, 1923, the first shovel of earth was lifted by Brother John H. Corscot which started the construction of the new building.
The Cornerstone of the Madison Temple of Freemasonry was laid October 31, 1923. Charles F. Lamb, Grand Master, presided. John H. Corscot, Past Grand Master, acted as Grand Master in laying the stone. Charles E. Whelan, Past Grand Master, delivered the address.
The structure size of the building is 112 feet wide and 182 feet long. The land acquired, prior to the building of the Temple, cost some $56,000 and was appraised in 1923 at over $97,000. The new building, inclusive of fixed and attached equipment, cost $519,000. The general furnishings cost $68,000. Total value of the property $684,000.
(to be continued...)