Hamilton Masonic Temple

Hamilton Commercial Historic District

For centuries, the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons have offered their members support, connections, and community. These benefits spurred Montana settlers to charter Masonic lodges and Orders of the Eastern Star. Ionic Lodge No. 38 (1889), and Leona Lodge No. 31 (1903), launched efforts to build a permanent home in Hamilton in February 1909. Members hired Missoula architects John and Josephine Kennedy to draw plans for a typical brick temple with two, first-floor commercial stores and lodge rooms upstairs. Most temples valued the secrecy a windowless, second-floor main lodge room offered. After fundraising stalled, the project languished until 1915 when members hired local architect Bernhard G. Peterson to redesign the building. Peterson’s imposing Neoclassical Revival style design featured grand Ionic columns, tall arched windows, and a pedimented portico. Instead of first-floor commercial space, he specified an unusual full-height, first-floor lodge room with a balcony along the east wall, tamarack wood paneling, and small arched windows. A large crowd of western Montana members officially dedicated the building on September 7, 1916. As of 2021, both lodges continued to use the building for its intended purpose.

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115 South Third Street, Hamilton, MT ~ private