Elgin Lodge # 117 of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons was chartered on

October 4th, 1852

The Kane County, Illinois directory for 1859-1860 notes that the Lodge met every second and fourth Thursday in each month in Masonic Hall, over Yarwood & Co's Store which was located at River and Chicago Streets (River Street is now North Grove Avenue).

"The History of Elgin" with City Directory for 1875-1876 1875 notes that the Lodge met at "Masonic Hall, Bosworth's blk, Fountain square".

For a time beginning in 1887, Elgin Lodge met on the fourth floor of the Home National Bank building which was located at the north-west corner of Chicago Street and Douglas Street (where the Elgin Tower Building now stands).

On April 7th, 1897, Clintonville Lodge No. 511 consolidated with Elgin Lodge No. 117. The village of Clintonville was renamed South Elgin in 1907.

"History of Kane County, Ill, Volume 1" notes that in 1908 Elgin Lodge met on the second and fourth Fridays at Masonic Temple on Villa Street. "A history of Elgin Academy of Northwestern University", published in 1906, notes that "An hotel became a necessity for the travelers passing through Elgin, and Mr. Gifford gave three lots upon which to construct a log tavern; this humble hostelry, with frame attachment, stood for many years upon the side of the present Masonic Temple on Villa Street" which would be near the southwest corner of Chicago Street & Villa Court today.

The Elgin Masonic Temple located at Chicago and Geneva Streets was the home of Elgin Lodge along with associated organizations for almost 70 years years. This building was dedicated in June of 1923 and would be home to approximately 1,600 Elgin Masons and members of their auxiliary bodies.

The cost for the new Masonic Temple was estimated at more than $200,000 and slated to be completed, incredibly, by fall of that same year. The Masons former temple, located at 16 North Spring Street had burned to the ground three years earlier, in November of 1920. The front page of the June 9, 1923 evening edition of The Elgin Daily Courier featured an artist's rendering of the new temple and described it as being "entirely of fireproof construction."

The sprawling new building would include a "lodge room of greater size than any lodge room in the country;" a second, smaller lodge room; and an auditorium for up to 1,200 people and would be made available to other Elgin groups and gatherings, arranged so that seats could be removed "and the place transformed into a dance hall"!

The June 4 newspaper proclaimed that the building committee had secured a "noted orator" for the following Saturday's ceremony, Dr. Preston Bradley, Pastor of the People's Church of Chicago. The Grand Master of the Illinois Masons, Elmer E. Beach was also to be on hand to turn over the first trowel of dirt at the site.

The cornerstone laying was a big event. A parade with an "order of units and line of march" was led by Elgin Mayor Joseph Caughy who was also designated the parade's grand marshal. Delegations from neighboring communities' Masonic lodges were on hand, as were Masons from all over northern Illinois. Even "the ladies" were part of the day's celebrations, with the local Order of the Eastern Star joining the Aurora Municipal Band, Elgin Watch Company Employee Band, LaGrange Masonic Orphan Home Children's Band, the Order of the Builders of Boys, and members of the blue lodge Master Masons who were "urgently requested" to assemble at High School Park for the parade "with your lamb skin apron if possible."

An unexpected surprise for the grand ceremony was the arrival of a trainload of Shriners, drill teams and two bands. The train carrying its passengers home to Sioux City, Iowa back from Washington, D.C. Shriners convention.

Into the cornerstone was laid a hermetically sealed copper box -- a time capsule that would be impervious to the elements and "chemical actions from cement or stone." A box removed from the former temple following the 1920 fire contained nothing but a copper coin and a copy of the The Elgin Daily Courier dated October 23, 1903; everything else had disintegrated. The items placed in the new time capsule included a Bible, the coin and newspaper from the earlier box, an American flag, the honor roll of Elgin servicemen who died during "the world war" (there had only been one by 1923), the blue book of the grand lodge, and by-laws and rosters of the various Masonic orders and auxiliaries.

The evening edition of June 9, 1923 The Elgin Daily Courier covered every aspect of the cornerstone laying ceremonies; in fact, the Elgin's New Masonic Temple special edition featured almost exclusive coverage of the event, with photos of the parade, speakers and ceremonies; formal portraits of the building committee and and Masonic officers; profiles of the various councils and affiliated auxiliaries; a history of Masonry; a "who's who in Masonic Circles;" and floor plans of the new temple.

A program from the dedication of the Masonic Temple building in 1926 can be found here.

Given the extensive coverage of the events leading up to, on the day of, and in the week following the cornerstone laying, it's clear that construction of the temple was a milestone in the young city's development, and evidence of the important, and very visible, role of the Masons in Elgin community life.

The Elgin Masonic Temple building was sold for $163,000 on March 22, 1991 due to financial difficulties resulting from maintaining the building after years of neglect. Subsequently in 2007 the then-current owner of the building, Family Life Church, removed several masonic emblems from the building including the corner stone. Some of these including the corner stone were removed to the Elgin Historical Society. Elgin Lodge took possession of the time capsule which as of 2012 is stored in a safe deposit box, and has not been opened.

After the sale of the Elgin Masonic Temple, the Lodge renovated the basement of a church at 65 S. Villa Street, and then for a time met at Dundee Lodge No. 190 before settling at the Geneva Masonic Temple, 10 South 2nd Street, Geneva, Illinois, where it met until December 2013. From January 2014 until February 2016, the lodge met at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 330 Griswold Street, Elgin, Illinois. From March 2016 until December 2019, the lodge met at the Geneva Masonic Temple, 10 South 2nd Street, Geneva, Illinois.

From January 2020 until December 2021, the lodge was meeting at the temple of Amity Lodge, 181 West Washington Street, West Chicago, Illinois.

Starting in January 2022, lodge meets at 217 Division Street, Elgin, IL 60120 at the First United Methodist Church.