At first glance, you may only notice the Naperville Running Company when you look at this street-front on Jefferson Avenue…but look closer and you’ll see a door that leads to a building with rich history that was recently celebrated.
It’s the home of the 169-year-old men’s group called the Euclid Lodge Number 65 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, more commonly known as Freemasons.
“Freemasonry I like to say it’s about character building. Some people use the term that we take good men and make them better, but I like to say that freemasonry uses the tools and symbols of operative masonry and use them symbolically to teach a man how to become a better person,” said Timothy Ory, Secretary and Historian of Euclid Lodge Number 65 Free and Accepted Masons.
The group started in Naperville in 1848 by a group of Naperville residents, including the founder of Naperville, Joseph Naper. While they’ve operated out of different locations throughout their history, they built their current lodge located at 34 West Jefferson Avenue in 1916, and have since held their private bi-monthly meetings at that location.
While you must be accepted to become a member and learn the teachings of freemasonry, they’ve seen many Napervillians come through their doors.
“We have physicians, pilots, electricians, contractors, people who come from all walks of life and all creeds, philosophies, and all those distinctions and we come in unity as brothers,” explained Andrew Siedelmann, current President of the Naperville Masonic Temple.
To celebrate the anniversary of their current lodge, the Masons unveiled a 100-year old time capsule in their cornerstone from when the building was erected.
Packed inside in the year 1916 were several rare coins, clothing worn by previous Masons, a 48-star flag and handwritten notes detailing the lodge’s members at the time.
And replacing them are a list of new items that will lay at the cornerstone for members down the line to unveil.
With new items like 2016 coins, a 50-star flag and a proclamation dedicating May 1, 2017 as Naperville Masonic Temple Day, it’s evident how times have changed.
But what remains a constant is the mission of the fraternity and their dedication to becoming better men.
“I have formed and established great friendships, the brothers that I have here are great friends,” added Siedelmann.
Currently the lodge has over 200 members and is the oldest lodge in DuPage County.
Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.
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