August 10, 1904: Masons lay cornerstone for new Masonic Temple

On this day in Duluth in 1904, hundreds of Masons dressed “in full regalia” gathered at the southwest corner of Lake Avenue and Second Street to witness Minnesota Grand Master (and prominent Duluthian) William McGgonagle lay the cornerstone for the new Duluth Masonic Temple at 4 West Second Street. Before that, the Masons had gathered at their 1889 Masonic Temple at Second Avenue East and Superior Street and were led by a platoon of policemen as they paraded west on Superior Street, then east on First, and back again on Second to the site of the new building. Masonic dignitaries from throughout the state were on hand, including the building’s architect, John J. Wangenstein. The cornerstone held copies of the Duluth News-Tribune, documents of Masonic proceedings, coins, photos of prominent Minnesota Masons (including Duluth Mayor Trevanion W. Hugo). and histories of Duluth’s Masons, the Duluth harbor, and of Duluth itself. The building still serves Duluth’s Masons today, although the Moorish domes that once graced the corners of its roof have been removed, mistakenly thought to be the cause of a roof leak some time in the 1940s. Read a history of Duluth’s Masonic Temple here.

Duluth photographer Hugh McKenzie captured this image of Duluth’s 1905 Masonic Temple c. 1910. (Image: University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives and Special Collections)