by Angie Cina, Vernon County Times, August 28, 2022
The Masonic Building in Viroqua was rededicated on Saturday, Aug. 20. The ceremony recognized the building’s 100th anniversary. The building was originally dedicated Aug. 24, 1922. It houses the restored Historic Temple Theatre, a consignment shop Second Time Around and Labelle Lodge 84. A Public Masonic Lodge meeting was held at 1 p.m.
with Grand Lodge dignitaries. The current structure was designed by the La Crosse architecture firm Parkinson & Dockendorf, which also designed the Bekkedal Tobacco Warehouse and the Vernon County Normal School. The building proper cost more than $130,000; the theatre, store and lodge represent a value of about $225,000. “Never has the Censor editor been so keenly aware of the utter inability of language to express the feelings that sure through human soul in the presence of beautiful things as he was when he attended the formal opening of the Temple Theatre,” read one edition of the newspaper. The debt was reduced to $95,000 and the building was put up for sale.
W.D. Dyson, a member of the original building committee, purchased the entire building for $40,000. He paid back taxes, did a lot of delayed maintenance and leased out the theater. In 1949, the Lodge re-purchased the front room and once again the Masons owned the entire second floor of the building.