I have stumbled across an incredible resource for those of us involved in the preservation of our old Masonic temples. It is the Church Buildings Maintenance in Scotland project. Obviously written for churches and for the Scottish market, it nevertheless contains a treasure trove of resources for owners of all older buildings, regardless of purpose or location. It is supported by the Church of Scotland, the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and Historic Scotland.
The massive site has a glossary of architectural terms so you and your roofer or construction company are speaking the same language. It lists articles on maintenance issues, as well as case studies of large projects. The resource download section is the greatest portion of the site, and it is filled with specific articles to address everything from bird control, graffiti removal and metal theft prevention, to roof repair, masonry decay and timber rot.
Ever since joining the Temple Board of Indiana Freemasons' Hall, I have entertained the idea of this very kind of website for Masonic buildings. We all face the same kinds of issues, on the repair and maintenance side, as well as on the financial and future planning side.
- The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has recently completed a major roofing project.
- The Detroit Masonic Center has been saved from abandonment by an outside investor.
- The Scottish Rite House of the Temple is undertaking a major repair and rebuilding program to stabilize the building from rotting steel work.
- The Scottish Rite in McAlester, Oklahoma is undertaking a massive restoration of its collection of historic backdrops.
- Indiana Freemasons' Hall in Indianapolis is in the middle of an engineering study to determine how to air condition its 8-story limestone building, as well as renovate and modernize its auditorium and kitchen.
- The Grand Lodge of Tennessee recently passed a per capita assessment on its members of $10 per member, for the next 20 years to renovate its building in Nashville.
These types of projects are going on all over the country, in buildings large and small, and all of us deal with the same issues. It would be a tremendous benefit to the fraternity if we could pool our resources and swap success and failures.
The Masonic Society has a section of its private forum for these discussions. TMS included as part of its mission from the very beginning the encouragement of retaining and restoring our aging Temples, so if you are a member, I would ask for your participation there. Or perhaps there is enough interest in the formation of an association to deal specifically with Masonic building issues. If you have interest in such a group, feel free to leave a comment, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org