Wednesday, March 9, 2016

More Old Lodges Disappear

While Masonic attention may be focused upon other traumatic events at the moment, there is something else that only occasionally surfaces and is given only sporadic attention. However, although it is usually considered as a singular event, I thought it might be good to consider it as an ongoing phenomenon, because that it is. Every month in the US, at least one, and often many lodges are lost. Some are lost to closings, other represent the sale of a lodge building which may be repurposed, as the one mentioned here in Princeton, New Jersey. Others may be demolished, as is most likely the fate of the Bethlehem , PA lodge mentioned in one of the links below, and still others fall victims to natural tragedies such as the fire which destroyed an old Lodge in Milton, Calaveras County (California).

Whatever the reason, these are individual losses for specific communities, but they represent an ongoing process for American Freemasonry as a whole. Because of that, as unpleasant as it may be, I think people, Masons in particular, need to pay heed to this, and begin to think about it as a series of related events, as part of an ongoing process; one which does not bode well for our fraternity. These lodges, most of them anyway, will not be replaced. While that represents an architectural loss for the nation, it represents even more for Freemasonry.

It is my belief that Masonry as a whole needs to get a lot less dogmatic and a lot less denominational, and start looking for solutions. We needn't unify as a single jurisdiction or obedience, we needn't dissolve our differences and agree on what Masonry is, but we should still be able to find ways to become more accepting of our differences and learn to work together for the common good. Will that ever happen? I have serious doubts, but there was once a common phrase in this country, "United we stand, divided we fall." So, I do believe we fail to do so at our peril.

Bethlehem, PA. Masonic Lodge and Mansion to be torn down:
Princeton, NJ Masonic Lodge to be converted to apartments:

Highland Park (Los Angeles) Masonic Lodge for sale:

Calaveras County lodge destroyed in fire:

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