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Council History

Adoniram Council No. 95, R. & S. M., was chartered on September 25, 1912, by Most Illustrious Grand Master Edward A. Roe. He was a member of Palestine Council No. 66 of Chicago, and presided at the Sixtieth Annual Assembly held at Murphysboro.

The council peaked at 935 members in 1928; one in every 27 of the 25,000 Cryptic Masons in Illinois was an Adoniram member. Membership declined with the onset of the Great Depression; the highest loss was 180 in 1935, mainly due to suspensions for non-payment of dues. Modest gains followed World War II, the Korean War and Viet Nam. Total com-panions greeted in the course of a century was about 1,500; the most in a single year was 179 in 1924.

Adoniram comprised three percent of statewide membership by 1949, two percent by 1963, and one percent by 1975. Membership was 100 by the mid-1970s and less than 50 by the early 1980s. Few to no new companions were greeted each year. Adoniram became one of just three councils left in the city, with Chicago No. 4 (Old Chicago York Rite) and Siloam No. 53 (Mont Clare York Rite). Meetings were held jointly with Loyal Chapter No. 233. Paraphernalia deteriorated and original officers’ jewels were lost.

From the city to several suburbs

In 1972, Adoniram relocated about two blocks east to the Paul Revere Masonic Temple at 1521 W. Wilson Avenue. Once known as Ravenswood Club House, the main building was originally a residence built prior to 1885. Renamed Templar Hall when owned by Illinois Commandery No. 72, Loyal Chapter No. 233 (now M.I.B. Red No. 233 in Franklin Park) met here as well.

In early 2006, Paul Revere Lodge No. 998 sold their Wilson Street property to a Buddhist Temple. Robert R. Riefenberg (1928-2007), who had served as Recorder since 1989, led the council’s move to the Wilmette Masonic Temple where it met infrequently and concurrently with Wilmette Chapter No. 253.

Adoniram Council was moved again in 2008 with the assistance of M.I.P.G.M. Richard T. Carnall (2006-2007) and officers from Three Pillars Chapter No. 280. They had established a daylight York Rite at Western Springs Masonic Temple, where the council also met, quarterly and in the afternoon, 2008-2010.

When it was decided in 2010 to merge Three Pillars Chapter with West Suburban No. 207 in Downers Grove, Adoniram hung in the balance. Not wishing to see yet another York Rite body surrender its charter, a small group decided to try to salvage the council. Adoniram Council began looking for a more permanent location. They found a group of interested Royal Arch companions at Euclid Chapter No. 13 in nearby Naperville. Euclid's members were eager to bring a Cryptic Council to their temple, where only a lodge and chapter had met since the mid-1800s.

It officialy moved to Naperville in January of 2011 and in June Nearly six months after its relocation, Adoniram Council installed new officers, attracted additional members, put on degree work for the first time in over 40 years but also in house, and has acquired paraphernalia for conferring the Cryptic Degrees. Andrew B. Siedelmann helped organize and transfer the council's finances. With the help and support of Richard Carnall, Paul A. Scheeler and others, Adoniram Council was on its way to becoming the best council in Illinois under the leadership of T.I.M. Brandon Zears and his officers, with the full support of the Grand Council behind them.

Custom-made gavels, aprons and records were eventually found. Dormant bank funds were retrieved and misplaced files returned. New officers were elected and installed, by-laws updated. At the grand York Rite sessions in July of 2012, after a very dedicated year by its officers, Adoniram Council took home every award achieving Council of the Year along with many other prestigious awards including winning 2nd in the ritual competition.

With the assistance of many good companions, Adoniram Council No. 95 is looking forward to a successful second century of Cryptic Masonry!




The Ravenswood Masonic Temple in Chicago, original meeting place 1912-1972 of Adoniram Council No. 95, and now a Native American multi-cultural art center.
The Paul Revere Masonic Temple in Chicago, second meeting place 1972-2005 of Adoniram Council No. 95.
The Wilmette Masonic Temple served as home to the semi-dormant Adoniram Council No. 95, 2006-2008.
The Western Springs Masonic Temple was the after-noon meeting place 2008-2010 for Adoniram Council No. 95, together with Three Pillars Chapter No. 280.
Our current home as it looks today in Downtown Naperville.