Remember when the Masonic Temple was the center of our communities?
No, neither do I.
But here's a couple of items out of Scranton, Pennsylvania to remind all of us of what once was, and maybe what we might strive to be again. From today's Times Tribune:
75 years ago (1935), Scranton saw a record number of New Year's Eve parties planned at hotels, night clubs and restaurants. The number was up since 1929 with the start of the Depression. The biggest party planned was at the Masonic Temple with more than 4,000 guest planning to attend.
50 years ago (1960), New Year's Eve events in the city included: Masonic Temple New Year's Eve gala featuring 5 shows, dancing with music by Al Anderson and his Orchestra and bowling for $12 a person
Fortunately, the brethren in Scranton have preserved their Temple, and it is still a big part of their community. From their website;
The Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral was inaugurated on January 2, 1930 when the first meeting was held in the building. The rectangular plan building is clad in coursed ashlars of Indiana limestone supported by a structural steel framework. At approximately 180,000 square feet, the building houses 2 theatres, meeting rooms, a grand ballroom as well as numerous other rooms and areas.
Over time the Masonic Fraternity realized the need to utilize the facility in more non-traditional ways. A grass roots effort was launched to form a not-for-profit organization dedicated to both preserving the physical structure of the temple and providing an ongoing programming source for the community. This unique partnership of the community as well as the Masonic Fraternity has proven successful and beneficial to all parties.
Today the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple operates the facility as a regional performance and cultural hub. The Center serves as the residence for national tours of Broadway musicals and concerts and hosts many of the area’s top regional companies. It also has kept to its earliest purposes by continuing to serve as the center of Masonic activity in the region.