Livingston First National Bank / Masonic Building
Livingston Commercial Historic District
The solid massing of this building follows a long Masonic tradition of erecting lodges whose size and bulk symbolize the permanency and stability of Masonry itself. Seemingly a colossal white stucco box, the building is actually comprised of three earlier structures: The First National Bank and the Fogarty Block (both built by real estate speculators in 1884) and a substantial rear addition constructed by the Masons in 1903. A 1954 renovation tied all three structures together by infilling windows and stuccoing the main façades, giving the edifice a striking, mid-century Modern appearance. On North Second Street, a large decorative panel reflects Masonic symbolism and rituals with its etched scenes of Egyptian builders, architectural elements, and hieroglyphs. Livingston Lodge #32, which organized in 1883 and was chartered in 1885, has met in the bank building since 1890. Since the 1903 expansion, which added a banquet room and two-hundred-seat meeting room, other organizations also met here, including the Elks, Eagles, Odd Fellows, and many trade unions. Businesses renting first-floor commercial space included Tolhurst Taxidermy—“Taxidermist for the tourist”—and Western Union.