310 E. CHICAGO STREET
310 E. Chicago Street, also known historically as "The Masonic Temple," is situated on the northeast corner of Geneva an Chicago Streets. It was built for Elgin Lodge No. 117 of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons in 1924 at a cost of $350,000. Ralph Abell, son of notable Elgin architect, W. W. Abell, designed the building while a local contractor, Charles Giertz and Son, were in charge of its construction. The Elgin Lodge No. 117 has been a part of Elgin since 1852. Originally, they met in the Masonic Hall located over the Yarwood and Company store located on Chicago Street and N. Grove Avenue.
The meeting location of Elgin Lodge No. 117 moved around since it was chartered and by 1920, their temple was located at 16 N. Spring Street. The building unfortunately burned down in November of 1920 leading to the construction a new, entirely fireproof, building at 310 E. Chicago Street.
Due to financial difficulties, the Elgin Masonic Building was sold in March of 1991. For more information regarding the history of the building, please click here.
310 E. Chicago Street is situated on a lot that is 132 feet square with the building measuring 100 feet by 115 feet. Although distinctive elements of Neoclassicism are present here, the building also displays evidence of the Beaux Arts style. This style was in vogue from the turn-of-the-century until the Depression and was particularly noteworthy for it exuded a presence of wealth. Key characteristics found on this building include its triangular pediments over the windows and entry, along with the larger pediment at the building's roof line with Ionic capital pilasters.
When the building was sold in 2007, several masonic emblems were removed including the cornerstone and the iconic masonic symbol that was placed in the center of the large roof pediment at the south elevation.
Sources: 1987 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud