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"....BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BROOKLYN MASONIC GUILD & TEMPLE OCCUPANCY According to the Souvenir Programme written by freemasons for the Brooklyn Masonic Guild Fair in 1903, the “Brooklyn Masonic Guild is the outcome of nearly forty years of spasmodic efforts to provide in Brooklyn a temple for Masonic bodies.” Some members of the Fraternity in Brooklyn organized the “Commonwealth Association” in 1868 and purchased property at Cumberland Street and Greene Avenue; they prepared a building design, though the endeavor was unsuccessful. Subsequently, the Brooklyn lodges were forced to meet in scattered, insufficient lodge rooms. The masons of Brooklyn had sought a collective meeting place until 1909, when the Brooklyn Masonic Temple was completed in Fort Greene; the new space provided several lodge rooms and an auditorium with the capacity to seat 1,000 people. Interior plans reveal a ground floor quadruple-height auditorium, two triple-height lodge rooms on the second full story, and a full-floor double-height lodge room on the next story. By 1912, thirty-five Brooklyn lodges were sharing the building.38 The Guild represented a population of over 15,000 Masons, and was under the authority of the Grand Lodge. The Brooklyn Masonic Guild was incorporated through a special act of the New York State Legislature in 1902. The Guild became authorized “to construct, maintain, and manage a temple in the Borough of Brooklyn for the use of Masonic bodies and other fraternal associations, and out of the funds derived from rent and income thereof to maintain and manage an asylum, a home or homes…for the free education of the children of Masons, and for the relief, support and care of worthy, indigent Masons…” The idea of a central temple for the Brooklyn lodges had long been desired, and as far back as 1868 plans were arranged for a gathering place for the lodges, but for various reasons each was unsuccessful. Finally, in 1902 with the establishment of the Brooklyn Masonic Guild, fundraising efforts were initiated and the incentive was a donation of $100,000. The various lodges supplemented the gift so that the site for the temple could be purchased. The plot at Lafayette and Clermont Avenues was secured in August of 1904, and the purchase price of the property was $45,000, which more than doubled in value within two years. The cornerstone was laid in November of 1907. The ceremony consisted of a parade in which the assorted Brooklyn Masonic groups participated. Grand Master Scudder used a trowel to make the declaration and 15,000 masons were present, including many prominent citizens of Greater New York, Long Island, and other parts of the state. A box containing a copy of the Eagle Almanac and a copy of the Eagle of the current date was implanted in the stone, and the block was placed into the foundation. The officers then “tested the stone with square, plumb, and level and it was pronounced truly laid. The stone was then consecrated by pouring upon it corn, wine and oil, as symbols of plenty, joy, and peace.” The construction of the building followed rapidly, and “the Masons of Brooklyn felt an increasing pride in the temple that had meant so many weary years of waiting, and so much of sacrifice and downright hard work. At the temple’s completion, the president of the Brooklyn Masonic Guild was George Freifeld and the secretary was Frank W. Robbins. The building cost approximately $260,000 to build and the Guild spent about $40,000 on furnishings. The building was intended to accommodate forty masonic bodies on the two middle floors, and the large upper floor was to be utilized for the Mystic Shrine and commanderies. The design was sure to include “commodious elevators [that] will make every part of the building accessible.” By 1909, the Brooklyn Masonic Temple operated as a meeting place for important events, such as political meetings and lectures. An advertisement from that year in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle promoted a “Glee and Madrigal Concert in the Guild Hall,” tickets one dollar. Another advertisement for “Select and Social Functions” such as fairs, concerts, dinners, and weddings was listed by Abel Crook, Rental Committee Chairman and Theodore A. Taylor, House Committee Chairman. The design of the temple gave consideration to such events for several reasons, though mainly because such occasions would provide income for the temple. Today, the temple continues to rent out space for this purpose. 1921 was a busy year for the Brooklyn Masonic Temple – more than 700 members of the Republican General Committee of Kings County assembled at the Temple, and later that year, Mayor Hylan welcomed assembled delegates of the Order of Scottish Clans, when they commenced their forty-second annual convention. In 1925 Representative Ogden L. Mills addressed the Committee about subways from the Temple, and then in 1942 a thousand military and naval servicemen congregated for entertainment purposes at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple. Brooklyn’s Kingsborough Community College held classes in “a synagogue at 317 Clermont Avenue in the Fort Greene section,” indicating that the Brooklyn Masonic Temple may have been partially utilized by a synagogue in the mid 1960s. By 1971, the City University’s new Medgar Evers College occupied part of the building, which served as the college’s temporary headquarters. This was not so convenient for the college, however, as the masons required sections of the temple to be vacated by late afternoon....." -- (Excerpted from The Brooklyn Masonic Temple - Findings Through Research and Analysis - Amanda Gruen (2014)) "....Fort Greene is home to several architectural masterpieces. The most famous among these is the Brooklyn Masonic Temple. Built in 1909, this Masonic temple is regarded as one of the most beautiful structures in the United States. According to The New York Times, the original intent of this structure was to be a meeting place for the Masons of Brooklyn (hence the name). In 1977, it was then sold to a “clandestine” Mason group. This group couldn’t afford the daunting cost of upkeep, so they rented out the space on a regular basis. The building now serves as a concert venue, “Masonic Boom.”...." -- (Excerpted from 7 Locations to Experience the Masonic History of NYC - NEWS Timothy Horton March 12, 2018 0) Souvenir Programme of the Brooklyn Masonic Guild Fair for the Benefit of the Temple Fund (April 13th-25th, 1903)
Souvenir Programme of the Brooklyn Masonic Guild Fair for the Benefit of the Temple Fund (April 13th-25th, 1903) - Info regarding the Brooklyn Masonic Guild