Arcana LodgeArcana Lodge #187
Ancient Free and Accepted Masons

920 Lowry Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Meeting on Second and Forth Mondays of each month at 7:30 PM

The History of Arcana Lodge

Sometime in the month of May, 1889, eleven members of various Masonic lodges met in Moody’s Drug Store, near Lowry and Central Avenues, and started a movement for a Masonic lodge in this part of Minneapolis, then known as “New Boston.” Committees were selected to contact other Masonic brethren, to procure a suitable place for meetings, to obtain the consent of neighboring lodges, etc.

On September 30, 1889, the first meeting of Arcana Lodge, U. D., was held in Chadbourn Hall, located at the southeast corner of Lowry and Central Avenues, by virtue of dispensation presented through W. P. Roberts, D. D. G. M. J. H. Bradish was appointed by him as Worshipful Master, George A. Reichard as Senior Warden and J. D. Tolman as Junior Warden. Other officers selected at that meeting were: J. H, Moody, treasurer; Frank H. Ring, secretary; George L. Dingman, senior deacon; Louis Mootz, junior deacon; C. D. Brown, tyler. Two petitions for degrees were received at this meeting, from W. L. Bain and T. S. Dodd. The latter was the first candidate on whom degrees were conferred by Arcana Lodge. He was initiated on October 22, 1889, and W. L. Bain on October 28, 1889.

A charter was granted by the Grand Lodge and Arcana Lodge No. 187, A. F. & A. M., was constituted January 27, 1890.

Considerable sentiment developed later among the members toward erecting a Masonic building of their own. On March 12, 1902, at a meeting held at the residence of Bro. John D. Tolman, a temporary organization was effected, with D. C. Brown as president, J. D. Tolman as secretary and George L. Dingman as treasurer. On March 21, 1904, steps were taken to purchase the present ground space on the corner of Central and 25th Avenues Northeast. On March 29, 1904, steps were taken for the incorporation of the building association, which was later completed under the name of Masonic Building Association of Northeast Minneapolis. On April 19, 1905, the plans of the present building were accepted by the Building Association and F. H. Ring, J. D. Tolman and William White were appointed as a Building Committee, and said committee let the contract for excavating and the foundation. At a meeting of the Building Association in May, 1906, H. A. Sauer was elected president. On September 22, 1906, H. A. Sauer, W. H. Ronald, C.W. Forsyth, T. H. Anderson and A. L. Hickok were appointed as a Building Committee and a contract was awarded for the construction of our building. On October 17, 1906, the cornerstone was laid under the auspices of the Grand Lodge A. F. & A. M., M. W. Grand Master Thomas Morris presiding. The building was first occupied by Arcana Lodge as a meeting place on March 4, 1907. On December 29, 1923 the Board of Directors of the Masonic Building Association turned all the property of the Association over to Arcana Lodge and the deed, signed by W. H. Ronald as president and J. A. Coryell as secretary, was legally recorded.

Our Golden Jubilee was observed in October 1939, under the direction of WM Ralph Dow and Edward Stein, PM with several appropriate programs commemorating the occasion, at one of which we were honored by a visit by M. W. Gunnar H. Nordbye, Grand Master.

On November 22, 1957 fire destroyed much of Arcana Lodge, one of the famous landmarks in Northeast Minneapolis, only four charred walls were left standing. WB David F. Tidlund appointed a building committee to work with the Board of Trustees in the remodeling and restoration of Arcana Temple.

The time Arcana was without a regular meeting place our Stated Communications were held in the I.O.O.F. Hall at Central and 22nd Ave. Special Communications were held in Cataract Lodge No. 2.

Forty years ago on May 5th, 1959 the first Stated Communication was held in our newly refinished Arcana Temple, and on May 6th and 7th, 1959 the newly restored Arcana was dedicated and the public was invited to our Open House.

Much credit is due the Building and Finance Committees, and the Board of Trustees for their untiring work in supervising the restoration of Arcana. Many of our members have contributed substantially both in time and financially to the building program. The Lodge wishes to acknowledge the funds received from the affiliated bodies of Arcana and the many bequests of our departed Brothers and friends, and the thousands of dollars from the Arcana Minute Men formed in 1959 to assist the Lodge and who have served so faithfully in so many ways.  In the early 1980’s the mortgage on our reconstruction was paid off, and consequently the Arcana Minute Men have disbanded.  

Our 75th Anniversary was observed in October 1964 with WB Dale R. Johnson as Master and Bro. Ray G. Anderson, Chairman of the Diamond Jubilee committee. 

On October 12, 1990 we celebrated the Centennial Anniversary with WB Walton E. French as Master, Ed Emerson and WB Frank Johnson chairman.  The emcee for the evening was MW Donald Severson, PGM, and the Guest of Honor was Bro. Frank Parsons who was raised in 1919.  The featured speaker of the evening was MWB Robert Papas, Grand Master.

Arcana’s membership had grown to over 1500 members at its peak in the mid-1960’s, but has since decreased to approximately 200 members.  Although Arcana Lodge has had both ups and downs in membership and in activities during the past 120 years, we still have the reputation of being one of the most active lodges in the State of Minnesota for which members and participating bodies can be proud.

The “New Arcana Temple” is now over fifty years old, and a new restoration is taking place.  Thanks to the hard work and generosity of our members and the affiliated bodies at Arcana, we have seen many improvements to the building as it's entered into the new millennium.  As times change, so does Arcana. We were one of the first Masonic Lodges to have its own web site on the Internet, and each year we raise new brothers in the traditional three degrees at our lodge as well as send candidates to receive all three Masonic degrees at one-day classes hosted by the Grand Lodge of Minnesota.

As Master Masons, we can proudly point to our annual fundraiser for University of Minnesota, Masonic Cancer Hospital as well as our outstanding Minnesota Masonic Home.  We have also answered the call for brothers and and mankind alike in times of need such as 9/11 and the devestating earthquake in Haiti, knowing that we can be counted on to aid, comfort and support a needy brother when called upon to do so.

May we continue to be true Masons in whatever position in life we find ourselves.