The building that caught my imagination and helped to draw me to the lodge of which I am Master today was sold, like many "lodges" were, because the big white elephant was too expensive for the dwindling brotherhood that met there. It is an amazing structure with stained glass Masonic windows, brass door hardware with square and compasses emblazoned on every handle, and a ceiling painted to match the canopy of heaven, but it is not ours. Yes we meet there but someone else owns the building and they are not going to give it up in the foreseeable future. We are uncomfortable tenants doing the labor of Freemasonry in a museum from the past. When we retire to the South for fellowship we must bring and remove any evidence of our existence and never feel comfortable in our camaraderie.
My dream for my lodge is to get us back into a "lodge". I want a place of our own. I want a place where if a couple of Brothers want to discuss things over a cigar and a dram of whiskey they can do so. I want a place where we can leave supplies to make the dinner we consume before a degree. I want to have a piece of property that the Brothers can be proud to bring a prospective candidate to. Is this wrong? Am I spinning my creative wheels on a thing that is more trouble than its worth?
I have found a building with a fraction of the grandeur of our old "lodge" but it still has the possibility of grandeur. This building is within the money we collected for the sale of our old building and then some. We should have enough money to purchase and renovate and put some money away to help us in the early years of ownership. But even with all of these qualities the older guys at the lodge are scared to own property again.
I think that a "lodge" would help my lodge in retention and growth because it would be a place we could all be proud owners of, but is this not the case? Does my idea of a "lodge" like the royal society, a clubhouse for the Brethren, not fit in with the reality of modern American Freemasonry? I see places like Halcyon Lodge and what they have done with their old building and think that if we had that we would be so much better off. Am I wrong?
What do you think?