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Lodge History

In early September 1848, a petition to charter a Masonic Lodge in Naperville was presented to Unity Lodge No. 48, St. Charles, for their recommendation to the Grand Lodge of Illinois. This being granted, a committee of seven citizens, headed by Joseph Naper, met and elected Officers, who were: Aylmer Keith, Worshipful Master; Joseph Naper, Senior Warden; Nathan Allen Jr., Junior Warden; Lewis Ellsworth, Treasurer; Calvin C. Barnes, Secretary; Nahum Loring, Senior Deacon; and, John S. Kimball, Tyler. It was resolved that Ezra Gilbert, the oldest among the Masons present, would choose a name from those proposed at the time. He selected "Euclid" which was unanimously adopted as the name of the Lodge. On September 28, 1848, Euclid Lodge No. 65, by dispensation from the Most Worshipful Grand Master William Lavely of the Most Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons of Illinois, the lodge officers were elected and with the acceptance of a Charter, Euclid Lodge was duly constituted on October 2, 1849. When the Lodge received its Charter, Euclid Lodge first met in a room on the upper floor of the DuPage Cash Store where the first candidate of Masonry in Naperville, Eli Rich, received his degrees for membership.

In 1852, when Joseph Naper was Worshipful Master, the Lodge was moved to the third story of Union Hall, later known as the Martin Becker Building. It remained there for 5 years. The water stained minute book of the Lodge was dried out and not used again when the minutes of the Lodge were "suspended for all time come" due to the freshet of 1857. The DuPage River, swollen by heavy rains and melting snow, overflowed its banks and drowned the entire downtown area. Soon the mill pond gave way and an avalanche of water carrying large sheets of ice demolished everything in its way. Several buildings, including three stores, were swept away; the loss estimated to be around $20,000.00, no small sum in those days.

Due to the interest of Joseph Naper in the building of the Academy at the west end of Van Buren Avenue, completed in 1857, a special room on the north side of the second floor was constructed specially for the Lodge. The Lodge contributed $150.00 to the building of the Academy and met regularly until the death of Joseph Naper in August of 1862. Masonic burial services for Worshipful Brother Naper were held in the Naperville Cemetery on August 24, 1862, with usual Masonic simplicity.

During the Civil War years of 1863 and 1864, only five meetings were held and the Lodge furniture was moved from the Academy and stored in the Hunt Building. The Lodge took new impetus with the election of officers in January of 1865 and met regularly in Hunt's Hall until 1868.

On one of the many public events attended by members of Euclid Lodge was on May 2, 1865, the Lodge participated along with many other Masons in paying their last tribute of respect at the funeral of Abraham Lincoln when his body was brought through Chicago on the way to Springfield for burial.

The Lodge moved again in 1868, this time to the building at Jefferson and Main, later owned by Judge Win Knoch. From thence, in 1891, the Lodge financed and built a second story on the First National Bank building and began meeting there regularly on June 23, 1892. This building at 18 West Jefferson afterwards became the City Hall and later was utilized as a senior citizens meeting place. Today it serves as an elite downtown restaurant enjoyed by many Naperville residents.

For 23 years, the Lodge regularly met at this "Masonic Hall" and as the membership grew larger, it became apparent that larger quarters were needed. Plans progressed until a cornerstone laying ceremony was held on September 9, 1916 under the direction of a contingent of Grand Lodge officers. The Lodge moved into this new two story building in 1917 at 34 W. Jefferson Avenue where it meets today. The first floor housed a succession of retail businesses until July 1935 when the Naper Theatre opened its doors (admission was 25 cents). The theatre was remodeled in November of 1950 and featured new Kroehler "Push-Back" theatre seats; however, as new theatres opened in the later 1970's in nearby shopping centers, the old theatre could not compete and closed its doors in 1977. Extensive remodeling again was undertaken aria in mid-1978 the first floor again was utilized for retail purposes. Today it houses a specialized running shoe store, attracting customers from many communities about Naperville.

Today, Naperville’s Euclid Lodge No. 65 is the 48th oldest lodge in the State of Illinois. On display in the Lodge Hall is a Masonic apron carried by Brother Evelyn B. Baldwin from Euclid Lodge who accompanied Lieutenant P. E. Peary in an attempt to reach the North Pole. This apron was carried to a far north inland point although the North Pole remained undiscovered until 1909. Euclid Lodge is made up of men from all walks of life. They all share the same principals and goals which are to become better men, citizens, husbands, fathers, sons and brothers. Only when a man knows his worth is he able to barter it for the betterment of his community.

A couple of Euclid Lodge’s recent initiatives in our community have been the purchasing of an American Flag for each classroom in every school in Naperville. Euclid Lodge was also instrumental in the purchasing of the bicycles that the police department uses to patrol the downtown area during summer. For over one hundred and sixty years Euclid Lodge has been a viable and contributing part of the Naperville community. It is the oldest fraternal organization in Naperville, and is justifiably proud of its 160+ year heritage.



The pictures below show the history of Euclid Lodge's Buildings throughout the years.On the left is a historical picture of what the building looked like during its day. On the right is a current picture of the building or location as of today.

Original building occupied between 1849-1852 and today.
Original building occupied between 1852-1857 and today.
Original building occupied between 1857-1865 and today.
Original building occupied between 1865-1868 and today.
Original building occupied between 1868-1891 and today.
Original building occupied between 1891-1917 and today.
Our current home as it looks today in Downtown Naperville.
Copyright 2010 Euclid Lodge No. 65