The Madison County Historical Society will hold its annual Dining in History event at the John Wildi Masonic Temple in Highland on Nov. 3. The event is held each year at a historic property in Madison County where guests can enjoy a catered dinner and learn about the venue through a program and tours.
The site for this year’s DIH, the John Wildi Masonic Temple of Lodge 583, was a grand house built for the John Wildi family in 1900 and donated as a lodge in 1920.
Freemasons were at the height of their popularity in the 1950s with more than 4 million members nationwide. There are still over 1 million members in the organization that places an emphasis on philanthropy. Dan Brown’s novels made Masonry seem very mysterious, but according to former Grand Master David Hickey, the organization isn’t that secretive, and he is privileged to tell its story. Hickey will provide a program on the history of the Masonic organization and Highland’s Lodge 583.
Wildi was one of the founders of Helvetia Milk Condensing Co., which later became Pet Milk. He was secretary/treasurer of the company for 23 years and participated in perfecting the product, in saving the company from financial ruin on numerous occasions and in marketing the product to national and international markets. The story of the Wildi family was profiled in the September issue of the MCHS News, the society’s award-winning newsletter.
The evening event will begin with tours of the historic John Wildi home, followed by dinner catered by Urban Farmhouse Eatery & Pie Company, and the program by Hickey. It is a ticketed event that requires reservations by Oct. 25. Tickets are $40 for MCHS members and $45 for non-members.
Reservations can be made on the Madison County Historical Society’s website at https://www.madcohistory.org/dining-in-history/ or by calling (618) 216-2768. Reservations can also be made in person at the Madison County Archival Library at 801 N. Main St. in Edwardsville. The Archival Library is open Wednesday-Friday, 9 to 4 and Sunday 1 to 4.