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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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5th and Locust Streets. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Freemanon's Hall at 10th and Main. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Masonic symbols on the Alliant Building in 2010 at 10th and Main Street.
First Temple, 11th and Locust
Masonic Temple--sketch accompanying the dedication booklet from March 15, 1932. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

The newly organized Dubuque Lodge made their temporary quarters at the Shakespeare House (512 Main Street) across from the site of the present HOTEL JULIEN DUBUQUE and then took up a more permanent location over the drug store of Timothy MASON. The lodge then moved to a new building erected by Emerson and Shields on the northwest corner of 4th and Main.

From 1870 to 1895 the Lodge met at the Freemason's Hall (formerly the Julien Theater) at 5th and Locust. Serious interest in constructing a temple was voiced in April 1890 when 30-day options were secured on three sites: the Goodrich property on the southwest corner of Sixth and Locust for $16,000, the Jackson property on the southwest corner of Ninth and Locust, and the Universalist property on the northeast corner of Main and 10th for $15,000. The five Masonic organizations had $5,500 on hand. The incorporation of a Masonic Building Association was authorized with a capitalization of $100,000. Shares cost $100 each with a dividend of fifty cents per month until the stock was paid in full. (1)

In 1894 John Vincent RIDER offered the third floor of a new building he was having constructed at 10th and Main STREETS on land which had been the site of the Universalist Church. The first two floors were to be occupied by the DUBUQUE CABINET MAKERS' ASSOCIATION. (2) The order accepted the offer and met from 1895 to 1906 on the third floor of the building used later as the offices of INTERSTATE POWER COMPANY. Masonic insignia were displayed near the top of the building.

From 1906 to 1932 the First Temple was located at 11th and Locust Street on a site later used by the CARNEGIE-STOUT PUBLIC LIBRARY for its new addition. Interest in building a temple was first voiced in 1916, but uncertain conditions caused by WORLD WAR I and building restrictions led to the idea being postponed. Interest in building began again in 1921.

By 1923 a building committee had been formed. On February 13, 1924 the announcement was made that the Masonic lodges of Dubuque had purchased the property on the southeast corner of Seventh and Locust STREETS for $50,000. The old temple was demolished soon after the Masons moved to their present temple.

The 4,200-square-foot ballroom in the current temple at 1155 Locust was the scene of minstrel shows in the 1930 and until the end of WORLD WAR II big bands featuring Sammy Kaye and Dorothy Lamour. The temple became a meeting hall for as many as fourteen Masonic groups.



1. "For a Masonic Temple," Dubuque Daily Herald, April 1, 1890, p. 3

2. "Hunting a Home," Dubuque Daily Herald, March 13, 1894, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=_OG5zn83XeQC&dat=18940313&printsec=frontpage&hl=en