Sunday, December 9, 2007


When a Masonic Temple becomes abandoned, what should happen with the building? Many times, these buildings are listed on the historical register because of their age or historical significance to the small town. This week, the square and compass and cornerstone was removed from a Masonic Temple in Elgin, IL. The Square and Compass sustained great damage as it was removed when a church purchased and occupied the building. The church group had to receive special permission from the city council over the objections of the city's heritage commission to have the ceramic square and compass removed from the building. I am a believer in the rights of property owners to do what they want with their property but why did a historical artifact have to suffer because a church group purchased a Masonic Lodge and sought to remove symbolism that they disagree even though the group knew that the building was of Masonic origin. If the church had a problem with the symbolism, why didn't they find a different building? In Minnesota, the Hennepin Center for the Arts converted a very large Masonic Center building in downtown Minneapolis into a very workable space without removing the symbolism. (If you are in Minneapolis, you should take a look at the Hennepin Center of the Arts. The building is at the corner of Hennepin and 6th St. N.) I wish that more people would realize that Freemasonry is not incompatible with their faith. The damage sustained to the square and compass could have been avoided and it is a travesty that it occurred, all because of a misunderstanding.

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