Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Muncie Masons Leaving Historic Masonic Temple

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Muncie Masons Leaving Historic Masonic Temple

Article excerpt

MUNCIE, Ind. - The historic Muncie Masonic Temple on Main Street has art classes, high school proms, church services, weddings and theatrical performances within its confines. What it won't have, come this fall, is Masons.

Having previously shifted to just the third floor of the historic Masonic Temple when the building was sold for a local arts center, the Masons are now moving out of the downtown structure entirely, shifting to a new building under construction by the Murpah Shrine Club off East McGalliard Road.

The new Muncie Masonic Hall might not have the same old- fashioned grandeur as the East Main Street temple with its murals, chandeliers and balconies, but it will have a logical amount of space for the three lodges and affiliated organizations that make up the Muncie Masonic Association, according to leadership for the local groups.

And the move will also make much-needed space available to Cornerstone Center for the Arts, which now owns the downtown building, say Cornerstone officials. Noting the "vast amount of square footage" available on the top floor, Cornerstone Board of Directors Chairman Fred Reese said, "At Cornerstone, our programs have grown... We're bursting at the seams."

The transfer of ownership from the Masons to the arts center in 1999 included a 20-year lease for the Masonic groups to continue using the third floor, as well as sharing in use of common areas. Even just the one floor was more space than the groups needed, however, according to Ann Spotts of Eastern Star.

"As active as our groups are, it's entirely too much space," she said of that top floor.

Noting that the Masons organizations, while still active locally, are smaller than they were 75 years ago, Robert Fey, vice president of the Muncie Masonic Association, said the new building will be 6,500 square feet. …

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