"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Sunday, May 05, 2019

Alabama Community and Masons Restore Historic Temple

Crawford, Alabama was originally named Crockettsville after Davy Crockett, and it served as the seat of Russell County from 1833 to 1868. In 1848, the Freemasons of Alabama's Tuckabatchee Lodge No. 96 in Russell County proudly erected their two-story clapboard Greek Revival Masonic Temple. Their historic hall survived the lapse of time, the ruthless hands of ignorance, and even the devastations of war - it was famously passed by when Union Army troops set fire to other buildings in the town of Crawford during the Civil War, legendarily because their commander was himself a Freemason.

Eventually, Tuckabatchee Lodge merged or consolidated to become Crawford Lodge 863. But just short of the building's 150th anniversary, the lodge decided to move out in 1995 and erect a newer temple on the same property. The decision was then made to allow a local landowner to purchase and move the old lodge building about 100 feet to the east where it still sits today. 

The original lodge hall was the sole remaining building from Crawford's county seat days. In addition to its purpose as a Masonic temple, it also hosted local church services and a school room, as so many other lodges did in our communities over the years. This historic building was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage on September 6, 1978. 

Local preservationists and community leaders finally saw the historic significance of the Masonic temple and decided to save the empty hall instead of letting it be consumed by the elements. In 2012, newly elected Russell County Commissioner, Chance Corbett, proposed creating a committee of the community in an effort to lead a restoration effort. The Tuckabatchee Masonic Lodge was officially listed on the Alabama Historic Commission’s Places in Peril. 

The restoration project began in late 2013. Spearheaded by the Russell County Commission, a committee of local citizens and the members of the Crawford Lodge 863, many volunteers and local contractors also helped in the restoration project. 

Donations were made by the community to aid in the restoration efforts and brick pavers were purchased and placed on the front walkway to show the community's dedication and support for the project. In 2015, prior to opening the doors to the public, the downstairs was restored for use as a community center and the upstairs was restored and designated as a museum to pay tribute to the original intended use as a Masonic Lodge. Additionally, a playground was added to the property through a state grant and matching vendors' grant.

Crawford Lodge sits just next door in a new, steel building.

A video of the dedication event can be seen on YouTube below:

1 comment:

  1. It's a beautiful building. I believe the shed next to it is the current lodge.


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