The Brethren in Winston-Salem, NC sold their 1950s-era building in 2013, which was home to several lodges and appendant bodies. They were then faced with the dilemma so many others have dealt with over the years - whether to buy and refurbish an existing structure that was never designed with the peculiar needs of Masonry in mind, or to start from scratch.
They chose to commit their resources to a whole new facility, that has both Freemasonry and the general public in mind.
From an article by Fran Daniel in the Winston-Salem Journal this morning:
Members of the Masonic Center of Winston-Salem are ready to show off their new building on Country Club Road.
The center’s first public event will be an open house reception on Sept. 15 and the grand opening celebration will be Oct. 23. For the grand opening, the Masons’ Grand Master will be present for a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony.
The new 16,500-square-foot facility at 4537 Country Club Road replaced the former Masonic Temple on Miller Street. Members moved out of the former Masonic building on Miller Street in July 2013 after it was sold to Publix.
“We’ve got a catch phrase that we’ve incorporated with the new building,” said George Kalamaras, president of the Masonic board. “New building, new beginning.”
He called the building the new face of Masonry.
“With this new building, we hope to get new members,” Kalamaras said. “It’s beyond anybody’s imagination what it was going to be. It’s just a beautiful facility. We’ve tried to think of everything possible to make it the finest Masonic building in the state of North Carolina.”
Kalamaras said that times have changed, that people in the past didn’t consider running a business out of a Masonic facility as they plan to now do.
Built as the fraternal home to about 1,200 Freemasons in the Triad, the new Masonic Center is also a venue for meetings and events.
“When we’re not using it, we want to make it available to other people,” said Joey Transou, secretary of the Masonic board.
Rooms include the Wachovia Room, the Blue Lodge, the Fourth & Trade Dining Room, meeting rooms and a full commercial kitchen with large cookers.
Transou said the old building had two, big rooms but did not have a traditional Blue Lodge meeting room.
But the new building’s Blue Lodge “is laid out as a traditional Masonic lodge with the indented tessel in the floor and the blazing star underneath the altar,” he said.
The Blue Lodge consists of degrees 1, 2 and 3 of Freemasonry.
The Masonic Center also has “The Pitt” area, called the man cave by some members, for outdoor cooking.
The center also has the latest in multimedia technology, including high-speed wireless internet, theater-style lighting, large screens, laser projectors and a professional sound system.
This new technology was something that was not available at the old Masonic building.
While a new cornerstone was placed in the actual northeast corner of the building, the old cornerstone used in the 1906 Masonic Temple in downtown Winston-Salem and then in the 1954 building on Miller Street was set in the northeast corner of the back entrance to the new building.
The article also features a video tour of the building.
The new Center will be home to Salem Lodge No. 289 A.F. & A.M., Winston Lodge No. 167, Piedmont-Pioneer No. 685, Forsyth Lodge No. 707, Winston-Salem Scottish Rite Bodies and Winston-Salem York Rite Bodies.
The home page for the new Masonic Center is HERE.