Did you know that when the Libertyville Masonic Lodge was formed 148 years ago, it first met on the second floor of the building that is now home to Mickey Finn's?
And did you know that Buckley Road was named after Fred Buckley, who was once a master of the Libertyville lodge? His apron still hangs in the lodge.
Just two years away from celebrating its 150th anniversary, the Libertyville Masonic Lodge is aiming to get more involved in the community and, as a result, held a blood drive with Lifesource Jan. 5 and offered tours to guests.
The Libertyville lodge was chartered on Oct. 3, 1866. Its permanent home, located at 356 Brainerd Ave., was built in 1931. According to the building's cornerstone, the Libertyville lodge is No. 492. Master of the Lodge Jim McKinnon said the building was built using funds donated by lodge members.
A retired North Chicago firefighter, McKinnon said being a Mason has helped him a lot in his life.
"I haven't met a man in Masonry that I didn't call a friend and brother," said McKinnon. "You get to know people better. I don't look for the negativity in a person."
Masonry, he said, aims to "take good men and make them better." Everything revolves around lessons, McKinnon said, including belief in a higher power and respect of one another.
To become a Mason, a man must be at least 18 years old, he must be recommended and he must have a belief in a deity. McKinnon said the Masons do not care which religion their members identify with so long as they believe in some kind of deity.
In the past, men had to ask a Mason in order to become a Mason. Now, an easier process starts with filling out an application.
"In the old days, we were very secret," said McKinnon. His father would dress up, leave for his meeting and never talk about it. With only Masons being allowed into meetings—and with those meetings typically being held on the second floor of a lodge to keep the goings-on away from prying eyes—a lot of mystery has surrounded the Masonic fraternity.
"We're not a secret organization. We're an organization with secrets," said McKinnon.
While what exactly happens during meetings isn't revealed, McKinnon said what definitely does not take place is discussion about religion or politics.
"We just want to know that they do believe," said McKinnon, adding that a religious volume—whether it be the Bible, Quran, Torah or other religious book—is always open during the meetings. "We are all the same in this building for meetings."
The Libertyville Masonic Lodge's meeting room features a suspended plaster ceiling. Ornately-carved chairs at the east, south and west ends of the large room are reserved for the master and junior and senior wardens, respectively. A "G" above the master's chair stands for geometry and God, McKinnon said. There is also a star above the master's chair that represents the lodge's women's organization, the Order of the Eastern Star.
The chairs along the sides of the room were purchased with funds donated by members and feature the names of the chairs' donors.
Focus on Philanthropy
Aside from their support of their lodge, Masons are are committed to philanthropy. Libertyville's Masons contribute to a number of causes, including dyslexia, autism and substance abuse prevention. They also help support the Illinois Masonic Hospital.
Jeff Gibson, a member of the Libertyville lodge, added that locally, the lodge has supported Academic Bowl teams at high schools and donates to the food pantry at the First Presbyterian Church of Libertyville.
To learn more about the Libertyville Masonic Lodge or inquire about becoming a member, call the lodge at (847) 367-9869.