“Masonic Building” at Jefferson & Wells Sts.

Here’s an architecturally significant Milwaukee building (center of the photo) without much in the way of a historic photos or archives¬† to fill out its history:

"Masonic Bldg.", N. Jefferson & E. Wells

This view looks south on Jefferson from E. Kilbourn with Cathedral Square on the left, the old Wis. Gas Co. bldg on the far left, Pfister Hotel in the far distance on the right. (photo-copy from MPL’s Jefferson St. file, annotations are mine.)

The two postcard versions (UWM and WHS digital collections) show the handsome building much better Рit has distinct similarities to the old Downer College buildings on the UW-Milwaukee campus.  The postcard links below also infer the similar red sandstone.  Was this built in the same era or designed by the same architect?



I thought this may have been what was called the “Ethical Building” which housed the Milwaukee Ethical Society at 558 Jefferson St. (1899 city directory) But newspaper 1895 adverts show a different (earlier?) building:

Does anyone know which Masonic organization can take credit for the building that stood on the south-east corner of Jefferson & Wells?

For extra credit: can anyone sing the old jingle … “On the corner of Jefferson and Wells, you can hear Cathedral bells, ….”

Comment (1)

  1. It was built in 1896 after designs by Ferry and Clas as the home of the Wisconsin Commandery, Masonic Knights Templar. The Milwaukee Sentinel of August 21, 1895 goes into detail about the organization and the building. It was an interesting building with plenty of space. It was even used by courts and Milwaukee County later in the 20th century. It was demolished in 1965.

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