Scottish Rite Temple, Balboa, Canal Zone
Inscription on back reads: "Home of Chugas Lodge, AF&AM
“Scottish Rule 1915. First officers under charter.”
The Scottish Rite Building is one of the very few "privately" built and owned buildings in the Canal Zone. Currently this building is occupied by the Teatro Inida for the Performing Arts.
Freemasonry in the Canal Zone
Near the end 1913 there was a membership of 239. This peaked at 4,036 in 1962 and as of September 30, 1977, the membership stood at 3,542. The period of 1943 to 1948 were the busiest years, when a total of 2,127 were initiated. These were the years during and just after World War II.
York Rite Masonry was introduced as early as 1910 when a dispensation was issued for Canal Zone Chapter No. 1, Royal Arch Masons, located on the Pacific side, and on October 30, 1916, one was issued for Canal Zone Chapter No. 2 located on the Atlantic side. Canal Zone Commandery No. 1, K. T. and Canal Zone Council No. 1, R. & S.M. followed in due time. Scottish Rite, under the Southern Jurisdiction, followed along with the Shrine. Abou Saad Temple, A.A.N.O.M.S. has one of the largest Jurisdictions of any Temple, as it includes Central and South America as well as Puerto Rico.
There are now four Chapters of the Order of the Eastern Star, two Chapters of DeMolay, and three Chapters of Rainbow for Girls. Two Chapters of National Sojourners and a Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine.
Masonry is still strong on the Isthmus but with the increased use of Panamanians in the Canal Organization and the resulting retirement of many Americans, attendance has decreased, resulting in the consolidation of Canal Zone and Isthmian Lodges into Canal Zone Isthmian Lodge in September, 1977.