The Jefferson Masonic Temple at 5418 W. Gale is one of the oldest buildings in Jefferson Park and the largest and oldest temple in Chicago where freemasons still practice. The Jefferson Masonic Temple Association, founded in 1906, bought the land for $625 and built the temple for $17,755 in 1912.
The temple celebrated its centennial in August and held an open house to showcase some of its historical attributes. Bruce Barnes, technology consultant by day and freemason by night, showed me around. The temple is true to its origins; while the old wooden floors are now protected by carpet, the white 19th-century ceiling remains virtually untouched, a painting of Paul Revere hangs in the sitting room, and the women’s restroom displays cotillion-themed wallpaper from the 1950s.
There are currently ten groups, or lodges, of freemasons that meet weekly at the temple.