It's always great to read an article about a Masonic building that isn't catching fire, being torn down, or sold as a community center, but is actually being cared for and improved by its members. The brethren of Asheville, North Carolina's Mt. Herman Lodge No. 118 got a nice writeup in the Asheville Citizen Times today for the renovation work in their Temple. (Somebody needs to post interior photos.) Read it here.
In the coming months and years, [Worshipful Master J.R.] Yarnall said the lodge hopes to increase public access through concerts, a possible showing of classic horror films, and through a collaboration with local colleges and community groups to help preserve the building and its contents.
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College students studying decorative techniques and restoration may help with the renovations, instructor Tim Hanlon said.
“They (the Masons) were hoping we could help them a little with the labor, and maybe help them come up with some color palettes that would be appropriate for the time period and its current use,” Hanlon said.
In the main lodge room, where the single gold star adorned the ceiling, members plan to paint additional stars, forming an image of Orion's Belt.
On the third and fourth floor, a little-used theater will be renovated and will play host to concerts and other events.
“That will be a midnight blue ceiling with the Zodiac around, and then primarily reds and golds — a very classic, 20s or 40s-style theater paint job,” Yarnall said.
The brethren are planing a game room and even a gym, and have stripped out carpet, refinished their wood floors, and given great attention to paint choices. The building was designed by Richard Sharp Smith, who helped plan the incredible Biltmore Estate.
This interesting bit of history appears in the article.
“In the flu epidemic during World War I, none of the hospitals were willing to take non-Caucasian patients,” Yarnall said. “So we brought the Red Cross in, and this was the hospital for everyone who wasn't Caucasian.”