Ashlar Lodge No. 639 Masonic Temple

Ashlar Lodge No. 639 Masonic Temple

The abandoned Ashlar Lodge No. 639 Masonic Temple, located in the Miles Park neighbourhood in Cleveland, Ohio, is a noted Cleveland Landmark. It ceased to be used as a lodge in 1969, although the building was reused for other purposes until the 1990’s.






History

A contract was let by the Illuminating Building on February 1, 1916, for the construction of a three- to five-story temple for a lodge Lodge at 8910 Miles Park Avenue in what was then the village of Newburgh. 1 It was to contain a concrete foundation, solid brick walls, tile and joist floors, tile partitions, and a brick and terra cotta exterior with an estimated of $65,000.

William J. Carter was selected as the architect. 4 Carter was born in Cleveland and was a descendant of Lorenzo Carter, the first permanent settler in the city. He was a civil engineer with various industrial firms before being appointed the U.S. Government Quartermaster’s Department Superintendent of Construction in Portland, Maine.  Carter returned to become Cleveland City Engineer in 1901.

At a meeting held on November 9, 1916, in a Masonic lodge at 8444 Broadway, plans for the organisation was circulated for the new Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. 3 6 A petition for Dispensation was written up and on March 1, 1917, Ashlar Lodge No. 639 was established. The first meeting was held on May 31 in the new temple.

The Formal Constitution and Consecration took place on November 1. 6

In the spring of 1969, the Newburgh Masonic Temple voted to place their building for sale due to increasing maintenance and a lack of secure parking. 3 6

After consideration, Ashlar Lodge moved to Bedford Masonic Temple at 38 Tarbell Avenue in Bedford. 6

Emmanuel Lodge No. 605, due to declining attendance, appointed a Committee on Consolidation in the fall of 1984. 6 It was recommended that the lodge consolidate with the Ashlar Lodge, which was codified on December 6. A ballot was taken on January 17, 1985, and was passed unanimously. Emmanuel Lodge merged with the Ashlar Lodge on April 1.

Due to some issues at the Bedford temple, a committee was formed in the fall of 1985 to devise a course of action for the Ashlar Lodge. 6 In the spring of 1986, the committee recommended that the lodge relocate to the Maple Heights Masonic Temple at 5185 Lee Road in Maple Heights. The relocation occurred in the summer of 1986.

The Maple Heights location was considered temporary due to its size. 6 In the spring of 1990, a visit was made to the Summit Masonic Temple in Twinsburg. After some thought, the Ashlar Lodge moved to the Summit Masonic Temple at 9545 Shephard Road on August 1, 1991.

By 1978, the Newburg temple was for sale. 2 A warranty deed was filed on November 19, 1976, to Southern Travelers for $55,000, who filed a quit claim deed on February 6, 1989, to Rev. D.B. Ross. 5 It was reverted to Southern Travelers under a judgement entry on April 1, 1991, and was forfeited on February 21, 2013.






Further Reading


Sources

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  1. “Ohio.” Engineering and Contracting 17 Nov. 1915: 30. Print.
  2. Esrati, Stephen G. “From Manx to Cleveland – with love.” Plain-Dealer [Cleveland] 2 Jul. 1978: 13-E. Print.
  3. “The History of Ashlar Lodge.” Ashlar Lodge #639. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. Article.
  4. “William J Carter.” Cleveland Landmarks Commission. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. Article.
  5. “O134-08-02.” Cuyahoga County Auditor. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.
  6. “Masonic History Timeline.” Ashlar Lodge 639. Article.

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14 Comments

  1. I just hope, if they ever have to tear this beautiful building down, that they save those square/compass and Royal Arch pieces and transfer them to the current location of the old building’s former tenants. The fact that those pieces have survived this long is amazing.

  2. Just wanted to drop a note to indicate that this page is still being visited and appreciated. I am a relatively young [raised 2014] Mason and I enjoy touring Arizona Lodges and am pleased that I can now visit other historic Masonic places on the internet. Many thanks Sherman for keeping the memories alive.

    Jim Nicewander
    Epes Randolph #32, Tucson AZ

    1. Newburgh Lodge which met there and was the last hold out met for a number of years at Brecksville Masonic Temple, before merging with Theodore Breck, in which I am a member. My family was very active at Newburgh? Between :Blue, Stars, DeMolay, and Rainbow. Next door is what was once a beautiful Presbyterian Church… my parents. Grandparents all married there. A shame what the neighborhood has become. People didn’t feel safe going down there anymore.

  3. As a 50 plus year Mason I was sadden to see what has happened to the Newburgh Masonic. Being an, “east side” Mason I rarely visited Masonic Temples on the west side. However a number of years ago I traveled to a Royal Arch Masons meeting at the temple and thought it to be like so many Masonic temples in the Cleveland area. I was raised in Glenville Masonic Lodge #618 at the Shaker Heights Masonic Temple where Glenville had moved to in the fall of 1962. My late father had served as Worshipful Master of Glenville Lodge in 1947 when they met in the Glenville Masonic Temple at E 107th Street and St Clair. He would then serve as Secretary from 1950 to 1983.. I was blessed to serve as Worshipful Master in 1975. To me what is sad is how many temples have either been sold and either fallen into disrepair or torn down. On the east side of Cleveland you have among the many temples that are torn down, in disrepair a total of 9 including Glenville (torn down), Woodward-E 105th Street and Chester (abandoned by Call & Post); East Cleveland, Collinwood-a community center, Nottingham, Heights, University Heights, Shaker Heights and Bedford which is used as a Muslim house of worship. In the 25th Masonic District, due to foreclosure, Willoughby Masonic Temple is now owned by a private owner. The Masonic order is a great fraternity which as is stated in their efforts to get petitions, “that it makes good men better”. I see the same struggle now that I am living in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Thank you for posting these pictures of the Newburgh Masonic Temple. I wish that Newburgh temple like the others I mentioned were still being used for their intended purpose.

    1. Thank you. I actually saw that you had linked to this page, so I went ahead and updated it with your information. It was darn near impossible to find anything on it to begin with, but their information helped to clarify things a lot. So secretive 🙂

    2. Dear Br. Cunningham,

      The Bedford temple is actually a Sikh temple, not Muslim. The two are different faiths, in fact, Sikhs have been victims of Muslim violence for over five centuries. In another fact, the former Grand Master of India was of the Sikh faith.
      I had to visit the Bedford temple for a school assignment and I must say that the congregation has taken care of the building, though I heard that they are looking for a new location. Perhaps they may sell to a Masonic group?

  4. The neighborhood changed rapidly in the 70s, a victim of block busting and panic selling. Part of my dad’s family had lived across the railroad tracks near South High in teh early 20th century.

  5. Thank you for the pictures and history. I was raised in Newburgh Lodge in 1949., subsequently joining Baker Chapter, a Council whose name I can’t remember and Allenby Commandery. So I have many fond memories of the times I spent there.

  6. My Uncles and Grandfather were members of Newburgh Lodge, they merged in 1977 with Theodore Breck Lodge #714 in Brecksville, Ohio. I am a member there as well, it is a shame to see what was once a beautiful building destroyed by urban decay. My parents/Grandparents were married at the church next door, Miles Park Presbyterian (now closed). My Grandmother’s car battery was stolen out of her car while she was in the church… like a said a shame, but wonderful photos you have here, I love the look that you captured.

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