How our Grand Lodge home, the California Masonic Memorial Temple, honors fallen Masons—and also points the way forward.

California Masonic Grand Master Jeffery Wilkins poses inside the Grand Lodge temple, the California Masonic Memorial Temple, in San Francisco.

The idea for a new Grand Lodge building—what would eventually become the California Masonic Memorial Temple—came about in the wake of World War II. It was a time when our fraternity was expanding rapidly, but also grieving for its fallen brothers. Though the building wasn’t completed until 1958, more than a decade after the war had ended, it was meant to honor those who’d “made the supreme sacrifice,” according to Past Grand Master Arthur Brouillet, who uttered those words in 1946. It would be, in his words, a memorial “which will be living and pulsating with daily life.”

I certainly think it’s done that. I love that our address is 1111 California, in honor of Veterans Day (which is celebrated on 11/11). Having served in the Army myself, this brings me immense pride, especially knowing that so many of our fellow members have served our nation with distinction and honor.

The first time I walked into the building, I was blown away by the massive columns at the entrance and the light-filled endomosaic. This is a beautiful space, and one I love getting to spend time in with my fellow Masons. The more I visited, the more I thought about ways we could share the building’s splendor with the wider community—a way to tell the story of Freemasonry in California to the general public.

Starting this fall, we’ll be doing just that, by using QR codes to help visitors understand what makes this building so special.

This being my last message as grand master, I want to take a moment to thank you, the Masons of California, for putting your trust in me. This is the greatest honor that could ever be bestowed on me. I’ve been asked what the best part of being grand master is, and without a doubt, it’s getting to meet on the level with brothers in lodges and at events across the state. My experience as a Mason has been expanded beyond my wildest dreams, and my life has been made so much richer for it. For that, I’m eternally grateful.

I look forward to seeing you all at our Annual Communication. May the Supreme Architect of the Universe bless and protect you, your families, and our beloved craft.

Sincerely and fraternally,

Jeffery Wilkins
Grand Master of Masons in California

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