Masonic Temple

The 1904 Masonic Temple at Lake Avenue North and Second Street, where the masons of Palestine Lodge No. 79—established in 1869—still meet. (Image: Duluth Public Library.)
4 West 2nd Street | Architect: John J. Wangenstein | Built: 1904 | Extant

Home to the Palestine Lodge #79, first established in 1869, the Masonic Temple is one of many buildings the Masons have constructed in Duluth. Their first structure was a modest wooden building at the corner of Second Avenue East and Superior Street, the same spot they built their second lodge, the ornate 1889 Temple Opera Building. The Second Street building once boasted Moorish onion-shaped domes at each corner of its roof, but they were removed when it was mistakenly thought they were causing leaks in the roof. (And an elevator has been added). Its cornerstone was laid August 10, 1904, by Masonic Grand Master of Minnesota William A. McGonagle. Many of Duluth’s pioneers and early business leaders were masons, including Duluth’s first mayor, J. B. Culver, who was also the first Grand Master of the Palestine Lodge , as was City Engineer William Patton. Patton, in fact, was one of four charter members of the King Solomon Temple of England — the other three were former presidents Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft and General Thomas J. Shryock, a lumberman and one-time treasurer of Maryland. Patton was a past master of Duluth’s Palestine Lodge No. 79 and in 1910 the grand master of the Minnesota Grand Lodge. At his death he was considered “one of the leading Masons in the world.”