The History of the Marietta Masonic Building Company
This portion of the history is authored by Robert M. Noll, Past Master (1906) of Harmar Lodge No. 390
and taken from the History of Harmar Lodge No. 390
The Masonic Building Company had been in existence for some years without any constructive work being accomplished. There was also in existence at the same time a Masonic Temple Company, which so far as I can find out, outside of being incorporated, did little or nothing in securing money or making progress.
One of the highest attributes of an individual and a group of individuals is that desire to own a home. It has well been said that the desire to own a home comes next to our schools and churches. We do know the difficulties of churches in erecting their edifices and the paying off of the cost, and this desire for a home of their own finally crystallized into action and Harmar Lodge contributed its $3,000.00, the largest amount of any of the other bodies.
Our late brother, Albert H. Snider, might well be said to be the father of the Masonic Temple. The Marietta Masonic Building Company was organized in 1899 and Brother Snider was for some years president of this building company. With the necessity of larger quarters and the energy and ability of Brother Snider, the building company, through the support of Harmar Lodge, the Knights Templar, American Union Chapter, and Marietta Council, the real estate was purchased, contract let and the Temple erected.
When the Masonic Temple was planned, the fourth floor was arranged for banquets, and for several years it was used for this purpose, and during this time the first floor was rented for business purposes. It was found that the renting of a portion of the building for business purposes was not profitable so the renting of the first floor was discontinued (at the present time it is being rented). In later years, meetings and banquets have been held in the first and second floor and the fourth floor served no useful purpose. The second floor was arranged for a club room and the south room on second floor was designed purposely for a dance hall and for several years after the dedication of our Masonic Temple, this room was used for Blue Lodge and Knights Templar dances. One might regret that the Masons have not used this room for its intended purpose.
To those of us who know values today and cost of construction it might be interesting to know that our Temple was constructed at an approximate cost of $35,000.00.
I believe one of the highlights in the history of Harmar Lodge occurred on the 7th day of October, 1907, when the Grand Lodge of Ohio met in the Lodge rooms of Harmar Lodge on the third floor of the Citizens Bank Building for the purpose of laying the corner stone of our Masonic Temple.
Participating in the laying of the corner stone by the Grand Lodge were 130 Knights Templar in uniform, the members of the Grand Lodge and over 500 Master Masons in the procession which moved from Putnam on Second to Wooster, to Fourth Street, to Putnam Street and down Putnam to the site of the temple. After the corner stone ceremonies at the Temple at which place there was deposited in the casket placed in the corner stone, samples of petitions and other printed matter of Harmar Lodge No. 390, American Union Chapter No. 1, Marietta Council No. 78, Marietta Commandery No. 50, and Marietta Chapter No. 59, Order of the Eastern Star, and the papers representing the lodges participating in the erection of the building, which when opened in centuries to come, will be most interesting to the then living people. After the ceremony, the group marched to the City Auditorium, then on Putnam and Third Streets, where an address was delivered by Nelson Williams, Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of Ohio.
The corner stone being laid, the contractor, Levi Cowell, proceeded with the work and the temple was ready for dedication which was held on September 9-10, 1908, by officers of the Grand Lodge including the Most Worshipful Grand Master, George D. Copeland.
The dedication was begun on Wednesday, September 9, at 8 o’clock and ended on the evening of September 10 with a grand ball in Masonic Hall.
The request to dedicate the temple was made by Morgan J. Mozier, Worshipful Master of Harmar Lodge, to George T. Copeland, Most Worshipful Grand Master. The Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Ohio was represented by Lewis M. Lea, Most Excellent Grand High Priest; the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masons by Milton B. Dickerson, Most Illustrious Grand Master; and the Grand Commandery, Knights Templar of Ohio, was represented by Ralph R. Rickly, Right Eminent Grand Commander.
In this dedication the members of Harmar Lodge, the Chapter, the Council and Knights Templar realized their dream and have occupied and enjoyed the beautiful, commodious and fine structure which they are glad to call their home.
It will be noticed that American Union Lodge was not a part of the building of the temple. The reason for this was that American Union Lodge owned a building at the corner of Butler and Front Streets in Marietta which at the time would not bring adequate compensation. Later American Union Lodge sold its building and then moved its quarters to the temple, bringing into the temple all the Masonic Bodies of Marietta.
The building of the Temple was a master accomplishment, had long been delayed and its completion and dedication will long be cherished by the Masons of Marietta.
It immediately became in constant use by the Bodies and has at all times been kept in good condition, and recently, during the past few years, it has been reconditioned, refurbished and is today equal to a new building. No neglect has ever been permitted. The planning and construction was wise and all of this is evidence of love and spirit of Masonry that exists in all of the Bodies.