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Thursday, June 04, 2020

Roundup of Vandalism and Damage to Masonic Halls During Week of Protests

Authorities guarding the area around Boston's Masonic Temple
by Christopher Hodapp

A string of reports are coming in about several Masonic buildings suffering damage or vandalism this week. Some are related to the ongoing protests and riots in the wake of the George Floyd death in Minneapolis, but others clearly are not. But what is remarkable is that, despite the widespread historic location of Masonic halls in downtown areas across the country and the high levels of damage for a week now in many cities, very few incidents of vandalism against Masonic buildings have been reported. It's highly probable that some have not been actively reported, but here is what I have discovered thus far:

Over the last weekend, graffiti was sprayed on Denver's downtown Masonic Center, home to several lodges and the Scottish Rite – the news reported that some protestors were seen attempting to clean off the slogans. 


Several Masons reported 'hunkered down' at the downtown Tucson, Arizona Masonic hall on the second night of protests after its windows were smashed the night before. 


Windows and door broken at Ft. Wayne, Indiana Masonic Temple
The downtown Masonic Temple in Fort Wayne, Indiana had several windows broken out.


Entrance to Paul Revere Restaurant in Boston's Masonic Temple
Boston's Masonic Temple, home of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts sits on Tremont Street in downtown Boston. It became the epicenter of several nights of protests and demonstrations.  In a Facebook video assuring his members, Grand Master Richard Maggio gave a shoutout to David Harty and the Grand Lodge security team. The building's ground floor windows were boarded up, and neither the Masonic areas nor the new Paul Revere restaurant received any damage or vandalism, apart from a spray painted slogan on the plywood.

Washington's House of the Temple Vandalized


Arturo De Hoyos reports that the Scottish Rite - SJ headquarters, the House of the Temple on 16th Street in Washington, D.C. was vandalized during the demonstrations on Tuesday evening. The large, iconic sphinxes out front were reportedly doused with paint, and the building was defaced with graffiti. Prior to Tuesday night, it had escaped any vandalism or damage during the recent demonstrations.


A short video clip on Twitter showed one of the protesters spray painting on the wall.


Damage to Raleigh, NC Prince Hall Lodge 



The 1906 Prince Hall Masonic temple owned by Excelsior Lodge 21 and Widow Son Lodge 4 in Raleigh, North Carolina had its windows shattered by protestors on Saturday night. The shops and Chapter Room on the first floor were damaged.


According to lodge Trustee Steven Melton on Facebook,

"We have 4 black businesses that rent from us they were vandalized, we are one of the few black owned buildings downtown but it didn't matter to those looking to do damage... We still rent the 1st floor to local businesses, the 2nd floor for social events,community programs and Excelsior Lodge #21, Widow's Son Lodge #4 and Mentor Lodge #55 still meet on the 3rd floor every month. The area surrounding the lodge has been renamed The Prince Hall District and the [building] has been declared a historic building.

Prince Hall Lodge Burns in Asheville, North Carolina 


In the Shiloh community of Asheville, North Carolina, fire gutted the Masonic Hall at Caribou Road and Booker Streets. 


According to a report on 13WLOS-TV, it had been home to Venus Lodge 62, the first African-American Masonic lodge in Asheville. Built by the lodge in the 1970s, the building had been empty for the last few years, pending renovation. 
Originating on Eagle Street in downtown Asheville, Venus Lodge No. 62 was the city's first black Masonic Lodge group.
Where blackened rubble stands on Booker Street, Ronald Scott pictures years of events, from cookouts to scholarship fundraisers, that brought folks together.
"Very disheartened and sad. Unbelievable," said Scott, who's the lodge master.
He hoped to renovate the structure, which had been unused for some seven years since another fire caused extensive damage. 
Fire officials are still investigating the cause. The surrounding neighborhood in Shiloh had no demonstration or protest activity, so this may be completely unrelated.

While not in this location, the lodge continues to meet. Venus Lodge 62 is chartered by the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of North Carolina.

An online Facebook fundraising campaign has been established to help rebuild their Masonic hall. CLICK HERE to donate.



Grand Master of Pennsylvania Issues Statement After Franklin and Washington Statues Were Vandalized Saturday


As reported previously, after the bronze sculptures of Brothers Benjamin Franklin and George Washington outside of Philadelphia's Masonic Temple were sprayed with graffiti Saturday night, Masons quickly arrived and cleaned them off again. Grand Master Thomas Gamon, IV gratefully acknowledged their speedy work in a formal announcement:



Thanks to Brother Ryan Steele for identifying the members of the crew.



LtoR: Paul Roth/University Lodge No. 51, John Mosco/51, Jason Fugarino/ Richmond-Solomon Lodge No. 3, Daniel Rivers/Athelstan-Lamberton Lodge No. 482, Ed Clifford, PM/51; 

not pictured/taking the picture - Mike Comfort, PM/Melita Lodge No. 295




UPDATE Friday June 5, 2020:

One final note on Philadelphia. Several message boards circulated vague reports that the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania's Masonic hall and headquarters building on Broad Street had sustained damage, and even that it had been set on fire. It was reported later that a car had been set on fire immediately adjacent to the building, but that the Masonic hall itself sustained no damage.


6 comments:

  1. The Masonic Temple in Fort Wayne, Indiana had several doors and windows broken.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank You for the comprehensive round up of damage to Masonic Buildings and Statues.

    Here's hoping that you won't have to repeat the sad exercise again.
    WBro Rick Whitehead
    Neiderrhein 892, GLBFiG, Dusseldorf.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Quite apart from the vandalism of Masonic buildings and almost certain prospect of more vandalism, some words about the future of the buildings in a post virus are in order, based on meetings now going on about how to open office buildings: a simple need is for windows that open, since air circulation is vital. Many of our temples have windowless rooms or sealed windows. A second necessity is heating and ac systems that do not recirculate air but which pull in outside air and eject the old air, and which do this in hallways, stairways, and, importantly, elevators (which are called chambers of death in the industry). Bathrooms have to cope with the plume of virus created by flushing, and the elimination of hand controls since it is impossible to police everyone in using wipes, and door knobs ae out and doors need voice activation. There will be many changes to building codes. More ominously are the issues of enormous liability if anyone shows they contacted the virus in your building, as the insurance companies are trying to opt out but the liability lawyers are already out in force. A new heating/ac system, which I am involved with right now in one building, can run millions to get the needed hygiene. Then there is the issue of testing, since if one is tested, he can become infected an hour later: testing just before a meeting is necessary. The virus as we all know is highly contagious. Rooms on cruise ships being disinfected have had the virus present up to 37 days after last use. Wearing a mask snd gloves is only one very small step to safety, and the Masonic membership is in the age zone where infection is so often fatal. Small changing rooms, chambers of reflection, dining halls, foyers, are all likely cesspools of virus. This all calls for strong initiatives and leadership, if there is any.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bro. Hodapp,

    Just a slight name correction - It's Bro. David Harty, not Hardy who manages the Boston Masonic Building.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My greatings and my sympathy to our course.
    Bro Athanassios Mavris
    Thessaloniki
    Greece

    ReplyDelete
  6. Let me add that sprinklering a building saves a very great deal on insurance, and having the old records in a university or other library facilitates their use by scholars. Also, attention to fire escapes and ramps is very helpful and a sign of consideration. Many lodge fire escapes are only useful to the agile. Lodges have been given considerable leeway in deference to their community role, but that should no longer be an excuse for not doing the right thing.

    ReplyDelete

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