I was invited to a delightful event hosted at the Dayton Masonic Lodge the other night. What a Dayton treasure! At the top of a hill located next to the Dayton Art Institute, it is not only a hidden jewel within, but the sights from their balconies of the Dayton skyline are breathtaking.
I had the occasion to visit this building once a few years ago. My daughter was showing signs of Dyslexia and their basement is the Dayton Learning Center. This is one of many of the Mason sponsored service organizations. This service is offered to children, aged 6 to 18, without regard to race, color, sex, creed, sect, or Masonic affiliation. The only requirement is a documented diagnosis of dyslexia. Their students come from Auglaize, Clark, Darke, Fayette, Greene, Hamilton, Madison, Miami, and Montgomery counties. It was a great resource for us at a stressful time for a parent, when your child is faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem. They were influential in her present day success. To learn more, visit https://daytonlearningcenter.org/
But this only gave us a quick look at the basement.
Our tour gave a whole new cognizance of what there is to offer in this glorious building built in 1920’s. Back then to be a Mason was a status for the wealthy and successful. Our tour guides told us that there was a million dollars raised in a 10 day period to begin this project! And it was not a small project.
Wikipedia says: The building is 265 feet long by 190 feet wide by 80 feet high, and encloses 5,000,000 cubic feet. It is constructed of steel, cement, and stone, including 55,000 cubic feet of Bedford stone and 15,000 cubic feet hard limestone and marble from Vermont, Alabama and Tennessee ("marble used for interior floors, wainscotings, partitions and stairways").
The Dayton Masonic Lodge history earned itself a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Most historic buildings provide us with a rendering of the past that emphasizes the beautiful and the grand. The Dayton Masonic Temple did not let us down. But with the preservation of these historical places, it is even more important for them to be the front runners in effectively demonstrating energy efficiency technologies. We are all trying to save, reduce, reuse, conserve, thus preserving the places and things that we hold important.
As an employee of a facility maintenance company, I have come to view the world from a different perspective. What it must cost to keep up with just the lighting maintenance! Of course, I ask one of the trustees and he responds with a heavy exclamation point. While they have upgraded their lighting to be more energy efficient, this came with many challenges connected with the age of the building and the efforts to preserve the historical elements while modernizing the necessary ones. This often time called for special fixtures to resemble the old ones. Much of the updates have been done while major renovations were underway, allowing them behind walls they would not usually have access. After which, a team of painters came through and hand painted the walls and ceilings. A very worthy project once lighting controls, even in the ladies parlor, created huge savings in the energy costs. And the final result really is magnificent to behold.
The most unique find for me on this tour were the light bulbs with the masonic emblem as the filament. I had not seen anything like it before. Researching it later, it was not as rare I thought, but it was still so attention-grabbing.
Following the tour we sat for an exquisite dinner in one of their charming parlors and enjoyed a fine dinner with wonderful company. I would definitely consider this as a future space for whatever function, large or small, that I may plan. (Wedding?) For more information about their spaces and the onsite catering, visit http://elitecatering.com/
You can also schedule a free tour. Get a group of friends together, check it out, and let me know your favorite find. Mine was definitely the balcony at sunset.
What’s a Mason? You can get more information about their organization at http://daytonmasonicfoundation.org/