August 16th 1904
August 16th 1904
The Masonic Temple, began in 1904, was erected debt free by a Temple Association which included The Scottish Rite Bodies of Duluth, Palestine Lodge No. 79, Ionic Lodge No. l86, Duluth Commandery No. 18 of Knights Templar, and Keystone Chapter No. 20 of Royal Arch Masons. The cost was $100,000. William A. McGonagle, 33°, Grand Master of the Minnesota Grand Lodge, A.F. & A.M., the first from Duluth, laid the cornerstone on August 10, 1904. Completed the following spring, the new Masonic Temple had its public unveiling on March 24th, 1905. The crowd of 2,000 Duluthians and visitors was so large that the musical program had to be given twice, first in the Blue Lodge room and later repeated to those in the Scottish Rite Auditorium. Past Grand Master W.A. McGonagle, 33°, gave the address of welcome to all assembled.
On April 18th, 1905, Sovereign Grand Commander James D. Richardson arrived in Duluth. Joined in Duluth by Sovereign Grand Inspector General Adams, they pronounced that the degree work in progress was "well done" in a fine new Temple. Brother Richardson anointed Brother Rene T. Hugo, son of the Venerable Master, and other members of the spring class as new Masters of the Royal Secret. Brother Richardson consecrated this new Temple on August 19th and then, on the 20th, he was honored by over 400 Duluth Brethren at a Maundy Thursday banquet. Brother Richardson was the second Sovereign Grand Commander to visit the Valley of Duluth.
The first Maundy Thursday Obligatory Feast of the Duluth Scottish Rite Rose Croix Chapter was held on March 26, 1891, and "Relighting of the Lights" took place the following Easter Sunday. Traditional toasts at the Feast were given by T.W. Hugo, I.E. West, W.G. TenBrook, and WE. Richardson. Brother Hugo also read a telegram from Albert Pike, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Order, and J.B. Noyes spoke in behalf of the class of 1891.
From their organization, until 1912, the founder of the Scottish Rite Bodies in Duluth, Brother Trevanion W. Hugo, 33°, was the presiding officer of all four bodies simultaneously. A man of great vision, enthusiasm, and organizing ability, Brother Hugo was nationally recognized as one of the most eminent Masonic scholars. Under his leadership the Scottish Rite Bodies of the Valley of Duluth became nationally known for soundness of organization, character of degree work, and for their altruistic activities.
The Duluth Scottish Rite reached out to the community and to the world at large. The Temple became a center of Masonic social activities. In 1909, Sunday afternoon classical concerts on the new $12,000 Scottish Rite pipe organ were opened to the public. The Masonic Free Concert Season remained a popular attraction in Duluth for several years.
On October 20, 1909, the Duluth Scottish Rite Bodies assisted in the organization of the Iron Range Lodge of Perfection in Hibbing, Minnesota. The Iron Range Brethren then would journey to Duluth to finish the work of the three remaining bodies. And in 1909, on the evening of December 29th, the Duluth Bodies invited Master Masons from the Masonic Lodges in the area to participate in the observance of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Grand Commander Albert Pike, 33°. Organ and vocal music selections a Masonic oration, personal reminiscences by T.W. Hugo, and selected readings of some of Brother Pike's poetry rounded out the centenary exercises. By 1914, the Duluth Scottish Rite membership had grown to 1,000.