The genesis of Chicago Lodge was on October 3, 1843, when La Fayette Lodge #18 was formed by the Grand Lodge of Illinois. As the War Between the States got started, there was a schism in La Fayette Lodge #18, reported to be between those who were in favor of states’ rights, and thus believed that the Southern states that favored slavery were in the right, and those who were against states' rights and favored the abolition of slavery. On October 4, 1864, it was determined after investigation that the factions could no longer live in harmony. Chicago Lodge #437 U.D. was formed on October 25, 1864 by men from the anti-slavery faction.
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.
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.
One of the traditions of Chicago Lodge is the participation of many of the families and descendants of our lodge brethren.
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. There is, on the alter, depending on the faith of the new brother, the Holy Books of the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Holy Koran, the Bhagavad Ghita, or other 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 this is based.