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Feature Article on Masonic temple. Topic: ORGANIZATION & DOWNTOWN/BUILDINGS
By Bill Dilbone in February, 2000

THE YEAR 2000 MARKS THE 175TH ANNIVERSARY OF SIDNEY MASONS

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This postcard dates back to when the Temple was new.

Temperance Lodge #73 Free and Accepted Masons dates back to Jan. 20, 1825, when the charter was granted to the local lodge. Dr. William Fielding was the first Master of the lodge and Robert Blakely was the first Senior Warden. John Knox was the first Junior Warden.

Plans to construct the current Masonic Temple were started on Oct. 5, 1922. Cost of the new building was $75,000. The Temple was completed in 1932 and dedicated on Nov. 18, 1932, by W. C. Dilbone, the Worshipful Master of Temperance Lodge. The first Worshipful Master in the new Temple was James W. Evans. There were four sites for Temperance Lodge before this Temple was built. The first was Weingartner house (Terminal Hotel), the second was the Fry Building at Poplar and Main, the third was on the third floor of the Taylor Building, and the fourth, during the building of the new Temple, was in the Thompson Building at Poplar and Ohio.

There are Masonic Lodges all over the world. Its members are of all religions believing in a Supreme Being. Sidney’s Temple is used by the local Blue Lodge, Scottish Rite, York Rite, Eastern Star, and Shrine bodies. It is used for church services and weddings of people of different faiths. The main lodge rooms are constructed to accommodate these uses.

Just inside the foyer is a coat room on both sides. On one side, stairs lead to the lodge room upstairs. In the foyer, you go down full width steps to the reception room,with restrooms on both sides, and a large fireplace at the opposite end. There are large double doors on each side of the fireplace leading into the dining room. The dining room and adjacent kitchen, which is fully equipped, is used for many Masonic and public dinners. It can seat and serve 250 people.

Dr. Fielding, the first Master Mason in Sidney, was also the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio previous to founding the Masonic Lodge in Sidney and was active in Masonic circles in all of the surrounding territory, traveling the distance on horseback. He resided on what is now known as Fielding Road in Sidney. The honor of celebrating the centennial anniversary came on Nov. 24, 1925, and was conducted with fitting ceremonies.

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Members holding meetings of the different degrees use the main lodge room upstairs. It holds 300 people.

W. T. McLain, who served the local lodge as a Worshipful Master in 1899, was also elected by the Grand Lodge. He was the first 33rd Degree Mason in Sidney. He also served in many of the posts in the Grand Lodge and Chapters of Ohio. Interesting dates recalled in local Masonic history are the laying of the cornerstone of the Monumental Building, the corner of Court Street and Ohio Avenue, laid June 24, 1875, by Worshipful Master George Henderson, and laying of the cornerstone for the Shelby County Court House on July 4, 1881, by Worshipful Master David Oldham.

 

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