First Building 301 Wisconsin Ave. Built ???? Demolished 1923
301 Wisconsin Ave. Built 1923-25
Madison Landmark National Register Neoclassical
James R. & Edward J. Law
Made of Limestone
Freemasons, also known as Masons, are a fraternal organization
Freemasonry traces its roots to the stonemason guilds of the late 16th or early 17th century, at the
close of the era of construction of the grand cathedrals in Europe. Tools of the trade - like the
iconic square and compass - were adopted as symbols of the organization, which became less tied to
actual building than the building of moral men.
The square and compass, originally tools used to gauge the correctness of right angles and to
inscribe arcs and circles, are symbols of right living to Freemasons. Masons “square” their actions
in dealing with others, and “circumscribe” their conduct within the bounds of good moral character.
The square and compass often circumscribe a capital “G,” that for Masons stands for the elemental
presence of geometry or God. Masons must profess a belief in a Supreme Being, “the one true living
God,” which is defined as the traditions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Some Christian
denominations frown upon the group - Catholic officials still say membership is “irreconcilable”
with Catholicism - but Canfield says religion, as such, is never discussed at Masonic gatherings.
The Zor Shriners, also a Masonic group, outgrew the center and built a separate facility on the west
side in the 1980s.