1922: Masonic Temple 601 W. Main Street
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Masonic Temple Cornerstone
In connection with the erection of the New Masonic Temple at Main and Church streets announcement is made that the corner stone will be laid Friday, August 18 at 2 o'clock in the afternoon by Abraham M. Beitler, Right Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania. The full Masonic Ceremonial used for laying the corner stone of a Masonic Hall and which is prescribed by Masonic Law will be used on this occasion The Right Worshipful Grand master will be assisted by other officers of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, notably Samuel M. Goodyear, Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, J Williston Smith, Right Worshipful Junior Grand Warden and William B. Joslyn, Grand Tyler J. Warren Radcliffe, Secretary of the Grand Master will take part of the ceremonies, also other members of the Grande Lodge.
The corner stone is a selected native stone, and will be place at the north-east corner of the edifice. The inscriptions on the two faces of the stone read: McKean Lodge No. 383 F. A. M. Chartered March 29, 1860 A. L. 6867 August 18, 1922 A. D. - A. L. 6922.
The corner stone will contain a copper box in which will be deposited certain Masonic records.
The Masonic procession will be formed at the lodge room of McKean Lodge No. 388 F. A. M. under the orders of the Grand Marshall and proceed to the site of the temple.
Corner Stones of libraries, hospitals, and public buildings of other nature as well as corner stones of churches are laid from time to time by Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania and with ceremonies quite similar to the ceremony which will be used on this occasion. Thus the ceremony becomes one of general public interest and all are invited to this ceremony.
Right Worshipful Grand Master Beitler and his distinguished party arrive from Philadelphia at ten o'clock on Friday morning and will return that evening.
Beautiful Temple For Local
The beautiful now temple for Smethport Free Masonry at the corner of Main and Church streets, which was opened last week, is probably one of the finest edifices of its kind, devoted solely to Masonic purposes to be found in any town the size of Smethport in the entire country.
The now edifice will be formally opened with a housewarming during easter vacation.
The building is of brick and of striking design, containing two stories and a roomy basement, the latter presenting the features of banquet floor and ball room The structure is devoted entirely to Masonic Lodge and Club purposes, with the exception of the basement, which will be rented for events of a public nature, outside of masonic activities.
The contract for the erection of this handsome new building, which is an ornament to the central section of town, was completed by the Hyde and Murphy Co. of Ridgway. The architect was Frank Orner from Ridgway.
Through the courtesy of Guy McCoy the writer was shown through the beautiful new structure the forepart of the week.
On passing through the large double door of the Main street entrance the visitor enters the main hall leading longwise of the first floor. On the right a massive stairway leads to the lodge rooms on the second floor. At the left doors lead to the lounge or the reading room, the card rooms, the corridor ending at the billiard room at the rear. On the right of the hall are cloak and lavatory rooms, a stairway leading to the basement and the office of the club secretary.
The lounge or Reading room is luxuriously furnished and conveys a restful impression. A large brick fireplace adds to the general appearance of cozy comfort. There are eight of these fireplaces distributed throughout the building. Back of the reading room there are two card rooms, connected with a large archway. From these two rooms large French doors lead onto a roomy porch on the east side of the building. In the back of the card rooms is the billiard room, containing a pool table and a billiard table, both of which were presented by members.
On the top floor one lounge room and lavatories are located in front of the building, the main part of the floor space being occupied by the main lodge room which is beautiful in appearance and is one of the finest masonic lodge rooms to be found in the country. The room in specifications and appointments conforms strictly to Masonic law. The furniture and fixtures of the room blend harmoniously the design of the interior finish. The electric lighting arrangements are intricate in detail. Covering the floor is a deep Greystone-Wilton rug, blue in color. The Philadelphia manufacturers of this rug state that it is one of the finest pieces their looms have ever produced. Over the altar hangs a beautiful silk American rug purchased by a committee of local Masons in Philadelphia during the late war. The dimensions of the main lodge rooms are 34x50 feet.
The ball room in the basement is also 34x50 feet in dimension and is perfect in appointment. The yellow pine floor, presenting the surface of glass, is laid on top of a heavy floor of concrete with a thick layer of cinders between the concrete and the wooden top floor making it damp-proof and free from vibrations. It is also fire-proof. The ground entrance to the ball room is through French doors from a porch on the Church street side. The ball room can be converted quickly into a banquet hall by folding tables and chairs which are stored in closets, just off the hall. Leading from the ball room are a ladies lounge and a men's smoking room, with lavatory arrangements. At the rear end of the basement is a kitchen and cupboards, perfect in every detail.
The ball and banquet hall will accommodate gatherings of 150 people. A piano has been presented to the club by a member. Harry S. Rubin and C. C. Cheate have charge of renting the hall for dances, card parties, etc., outside of masonic activities, to those who desire it.
The entire building is heated by steam, the job of plumbing being a splendid one. Pipes throughout are of brass and the boiler room is located in a far corner of the basement. The gas pressure in the boiler is regulated automatically by a thermostat arrangement, controlled by a thermometer. Insuring uniform temperature throughout the building.
The main idea maintained throughout the entire building is plenty of light from closely spaced windows ad perfect ventilation. The electric lighting arrangement is perfect giving daylight brilliancy after nightfall. The electric fixtures are of beautiful design.
Duplex shades of blue and tan, lace curtains and blue draperies are provided for the windows throughout.
The finish of the interior is plain, but rich to a beautiful degree. The floors, doors, and interior trimmings are of yellow pine with a high golden oak finish. Footfalls are guided throughout the building by perfectly adapted floor coverings.
Agitation for a permanent home for Smethport Masonry was started about a year ago. Despite the difficulties in the path of realization due to limited membership, a number of members proceeded untiringly on the building project with the result that a stock company was organized and ultimately incorporated as the Smethport Temple Club to erect a suitable temple for local Masonry.
Ground was broken for the structure last July and the corner stone was laid by Pennsylvania Grand Master A. G. Beitler, assisted by other State Grand Lodge dignitaries in August with impressive ceremonies.
Tenants of the Temple Club Co. will be McKean Lodge 388. F. & A.M. and the Temple club, the membership of which is limited to those who belong to the Masonic fraternity.
Officers of the building association which made the erection of this handsome local home for Masonry possible were G. W. Mitchell, chairman; C. C. Choate, secretary; H. S. Rubin, treasurer.
The following have been elected for the Temple Club as Follow:
Under modern conditions in American small town life it has become necessary for the community as a whole to provide a recreational center for the citizenry or in the absence of such a community center, for different fraternal or civic bodies to provide for the social welfare of their own members if the high mark of our societies fabric is to be preserved from deterioration. Smethport Masons are certainly handsomely provided for in this regard for all time to come by the new temple.