Goshen News, Goshen, IN

August 25, 2013

HIDDEN PLACES: A peek past the doors of the Masonic Lodge

By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS

GOSHEN — The front doors on the Goshen Masonic Lodge, which include nude images, have been turning heads in The Maple City for generations. But how did they get there? Well, the large doors were specifically commissioned for the building in the 1920s.

“They are part of the Greco-Roman style (of art and architecture popularized in the late 1920s) used to design them,” said Jim Radeline, Goshen Masonic Lodge past master.

According to a Goshen historical reference book, the doors were made in Italy and placed on the building at Fifth and Jefferson streets during a ceremony in 1930. The cornerstone of the building is dated 1927.

But the doors aren’t the only interesting part of this prominent building.

Radeline said every light fixture in the Masonic Lodge was custom made for the building with the group’s G, square and compass logo.

“They are unique,” Radeline said. “The actual artist’s drawings are tucked away in a vault. We have no blueprints of the building. They disappeared when the building was repossessed by the bank in the 1930s.”

All the woodwork around the doors and trim are made from black walnut and crafted by local craftsmen, Radeline said.

Their meeting room inside the lodge is representative of King’s Solomon Temple, who was the first grand master of Masons, said past master George Burkley.

“The room is facing east,” Burkley said.”The group has 90 members and meets weekly.”

There is an altar in the center of the room and is part of the ritual, Radeline added.

“A member has to believe in a supreme deity,” Radeline said. “A holy Bible or a holy law has to be opened for a meeting.”

According to Radeline, the lodge’s lounge and billiards room on the second floor are used for members’ relaxation.

“The lodge was built as a fraternal building for members,” Radeline said.

Goshen Lodge #12 and Tyrian Lodge #718 merged together in 2012. The number of Masons has declined over the years, Burkley said.

“It’s been a good mixture of both lodges and we have events there,” he said. “The members are diverse and open to all people. We are a fraternal organization that’s been around forever. We pay it forward and pay it backward in helping others. We build friendships and relationships. All Masons like to have fun. It’s a wonderful organization but has been hidden because people had to ask to join. Now we have opportunities to solicit a bit more.”