Sunday, November 6, 2011

Building Trivia

Scribed by Brother Carroll Melton
Past President of the Board of Directors of the Masonic Temple Co. Inc.

On July 1, 1909 Mt Hermon Lodge (chartered 1847) and Asheville Chapter No. 25 (chartered 1852) of Royal Arch Masons purchased the lot on which the Masonic Temple now stands for the purposes of constructing a lodge building. On April 6th 1912 a joint meeting was held between Mt. Hermon Lodge No. 118 and Asheville Lodge of Perfection No. 1 to devise a means for the building of a masonic temple. The building would be called the "Masonic Temple".

At the meeting it was suggested that the basement and first floor shall include a reading room and library, secretaries' offices, lobby, dining room and kitchen. The second floor shall be for the use of the Blue Lodge and the bodies of the American or York Rite and the third floor for the use of the bodies of the Scottish Rite.

On May 10th, 1913 the contract was signed with JC McPherson to build our building for a price of $56,260 which included the foundation. On July 1st, 1913 the cornerstone ceremony was held. On April 29th, 1915 the building was accepted from the contractor. During the construction several changes were made on the third floor such as windows and additional showers and bathrooms. This increased the price by $3,228.16. An elevator was installed in the Masonic Temple in 1922 for the sum of $7,120. On April 14th 1919 the Masonic Temple Board decided to buy the house and lot next door (which is now the parking lot). The cost of the house and the lot was $15,250. The house was known as the "OZARKS" boarding house. The house was later sold for $710 and removed from the lot.

In the basement of the Masonic Temple there was a bowling alley installed by Mt. Hermon Lodge (now gone). Shuffle boards are still painted on the floor (just in case you want to play sometime..).

The door knobs on the first and second floor have the Square and Compass on them. Door knobs on the third and fourth floors have the Scottish Rite double headed eagle on them. There is a small lodge room in the basement where pieces of logs are used for pedestals and saplings for staffs. There is even wicker furniture believed to be older than the building.

Our building contains 600,000 bricks that came from Alex C. Scott Brick Co. of Knoxville. At a cost of $9.40 per thousand bricks, laid into the walls at $18 per thousand bricks. The steel beams and other necessary steel came from Southern Engineering Co Charlotte, NC for a total sum of $5,000. There were no tractor and trailers at that time so these materials came by rail, the depot being nearly 3 miles from our building. These steal beams are about 55 ft long and 5 feet wide. The foundation is granite rock about 2 feet wide, the price was laid in the wall, $4.46 per cubic yard. The excavation of the basement cost .27 cents per cubic yard plus $20 for clearing the lot. 3,857 cubic yards. During the construction, the corners of the lot became lost and surveyor was called to redefine them, cost $2.00. The street in front of the Temple at that time was N. Main St., it later was named Broadway.

Mount Hermon Lodge #118 was chartered in 1848 by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. Housed in the Asheville Masonic Temple, our Stated Communication meets on the first Thursday of each month with an open dinner at 6:30pm and the meeting following at 7:30pm.