About Chicago Lodge

Chicago Lodge #437 AF&AM is a Masonic lodge, which meets near Chicago in Skokie, Illinois. It is chartered by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Illinois. The lodge has over 400 members of diverse backgrounds, races, and religions. We hold meetings to discuss regular business on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. We serve dinner for members and guests before each meeting. Although non-Masons cannot attend business meetings, guests are encouraged to have dinner with us to meet and discuss Masonry. We get together for fellowship beginning at 5:30 and serve dinner at 6:30.

The lodge is neither the most formal nor the most casual of lodges. Officers and most members wear a jacket and tie for meetings, but others might be somewhat more relaxed. Jeans, shorts, and shirts without collars are discouraged, but those wearing such clothing will usually be admitted. Sometimes formal wear is worn for special occasions.

In addition to meals being served before meetings, there are frequent social gatherings for members and their families. We host dinners and plays for the ladies, picnics for the entire family and other events throughout the year. Some brethren gather for breakfast at a restaurant once a month.

A tradition of our lodge recognizing important patriotic events continues to the present day. Chicago Lodge is a yearly participant in the Skokie 4th of July parade. Our brethren decorate a float and ride in the parade proudly wearing their Masonic aprons. Continuing in the spirit begun in the aftermath of the Chicago Fire, and reinforced by our memories of the events of September 11, 2001, Chicago Lodge annually honors the first responders of the Skokie Police and Fire Departments each September. There is a festive program consisting of a color guard posting the flag of the United States of America, a speaker, and a dinner served to those attending. Dinner is also carried to those first responders who could not attend due to being on duty in their respective departments.


LaFayette Lodge #18 was formed by the Grand Lodge of Illinois on October 3, 1843. LaFayette Lodge was said to be the first lodge in the Chicago area. As the War Between the States got started, there was a schism in LaFayette Lodge #18, reported to be between those who were in favor of states’ rights, and thus believed that the Southern states favoring slavery were in the right, and those who were against states’ rights and favored the abolition of slavery. A group of Masons who favoored the abolution of slavery broke away from LaFayette Lodge and formed Chicago Lodge. On October 4,1865, Chicago Lodge was formally chartered. The charter of LaFayette Lodge #18 was eventually canceled.

Not many years later came the disaster of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The only physical property of Chicago Lodge that survived that conflagration was the by-laws register which is signed by our newly raised brethren. That volume is still in active use today.

Over the past century and a half that Chicago Lodge #437 has been in existence, many notable brethren have either been in attendance at a lodge meeting, or have been brethren of the lodge. Governors, judges, and prominent businessmen have been among them. However, Masonry teaches us that no matter our position in life, in Masonry we are all on the same level and can meet in harmony.

Chicago Lodge has evolved into a lodge that is truly representative of all cultures. When first formed, Chicago Lodge consisted of brethren who were prominently of the Jewish faith. Today, Chicago Lodge is proud to say that the lodge consists of brethren who represent various and diverse faiths. Each new brother is allowed to take his oath or obligation with his hand on the Holy Book of his choice, whether it be the Holy Books of the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Holy Koran, the Bhagavad Ghita, or any Holy Book used in the faith of the brother receiving his degrees. In Chicago Lodge, brethren of many faiths share Masonic brotherhood, all professing their belief in the Supreme Architect of the Universe as defined by their religious preference. It is this diversity that will keep Chicago Lodge #437 growing and vibrant for many years into the future.

Many thanks to RWB Ira Gilbert, who provided the extensive original history of the Lodge on which much of the above information is based.
Updated: 08/16/2017