A brief history of the DeKalb Lodge No. 144:

DeKalb Lodge No. 144 began with the 15th annual communication of the Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois, in the city of Springfield, on Monday, October 2 1854. The committee on Lodge Universal Degree recommended that DeKalb Lodge be issued a charter as the DeKalb Lodge No. 144. A charter was issued that very morning and was signed by James L. Anderson, Grand Master of Illinois, and Harmon G. Reynolds, Grand Secretary. The only members of DeKalb lodge whose names appeared on the charter were Titus C Wetmore, WM, E.B. Gilbert, and J.H. Burhardt.

The buildings where meetings took places for DeKalb lodge No. 144 can be found around the city. But the exact location of the original 1854 Lodge is somewhat dubious. Some members of the current roster believe that its location was much farther south than its current location, which is located at the intersection of 4th Street and Fairview Pkwy. Because the lodge actually got started earlier than the city of DeKalb was founded, it is known that the lodge was moved to DeKalb city limits shortly after the city was founded. However, it is generally believed that the first location of the first DeKalb Masonic lodge is located near the 1700 block of Keslinger road, where the railroad tracts intersect. Positions of the early lodge locations that came after the lodge was formally moved to DeKalb are 218 East Main Street, and later 263 East Main Street. However, by looking at a street map of DeKalb you would not know this because Main Street was changed to Lincoln Hwy in the early 1900s. In 1888, the lodge had cut a deal with the J.F. Glidden Publishing Co. to build a third floor addition to a proposed two story brick building that was located at the northwest corner of First and Main streets, in what is now the park area where the World War 11 M-3 Stuart tank currently sits. The first new building was created in May of 1898. This location was 323 East Main Street in May of 1903 and meetings were held on the second floor. The building is now home to McCabe's Tavern.

In 1916 the Jacob Haish family donated to the lodge the building known as the "beehive block" and was accepted, but the organizations of the lodge did not move into this building until 1918. This building was built in 1885, and the first floor included a butcher shop and in the back room was the lodge along with the complete second floor. The building was torn down in 1937. In 1928, the lodge then moved into a much larger building at 318 Locust Street where it remained until 1970. In 1970 the lodge moved to its current home, which is located at 4th Street and Fairview Drive. This site was donated to the lodge by the generosity of the Terwilliger family.

In the early 1930s the Malta Lodge merged with the DeKalb Lodge, and in the early 1950s the Maple Park Lodge also merged with the DeKalb Lodge, and in 2004, Sycamore Lodge No. 134 merged with DeKalb as well, so that now the DeKalb Lodge No. 144 is one of the largest Masonic Lodges in DeKalb County, with an active roster of 255 members.

The DeKalb Lodge is currently 161 years old. Many of the names appearing in its early records are of prominent early settlers and prominent community builders who followed them. Many members of DeKalb Lodge are still prominent members of the community at large and hold important positions within our local communities. Politicians, doctors, lawyers, ministers, police officers, firemen, professors, teachers, businessmen, and workers in all kinds of classifications meet in the lodge with like-minded brothers, whose desires include learning to become better men of high moral character.

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