Ashland Masons Replace Burned Lodge with Concrete and Brick Building
Ashland wisely turned to brick construction after a fire started on March 11, 1879, in a blacksmith shop, consuming the Plaza’s wooden buildings, including the Masonic Lodge.
Within months, the Masons broke ground on a new concrete and brick building at No. 25 Main Street, including a cornerstone with a time-capsule cache of contemporary items, among them a membership list and an Ashland state senator’s jar of jelly. The 137-year-old Masonic Lodge No. 23 stands today as Jackson County’s second oldest remaining Masonic structure after the one built in 1877 in Jacksonville.
A lodge member, prominent businessman W.H. Atkinson, designed the building, and Lodge members bought $100 bonds to raise $20,400 for its construction. The Ashland Post office occupied much of the ground floor from 1890 to 1954. Other businesses included a real estate office, a drug store and the Ashland Woolen Mill office, occupied by the Gold & Gems jewelry store today.
Architect Frank C. Clark designed a second floor for the Lodge Hall in 1909 to accommodate increasing lodge membership during a period of Ashland growth and prosperity. A third-floor kitchen was added in 1928.
The National Register of Historic Places recognized the building in 1992.
Sources: O'Harra, Marjorie. Ashland: The First 100 Years. First ed. Ashland, Ore.: Northwest Passages Publishing, Inc., 1981. Print; "Ashland Masonic Lodge Building." National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service, 4 June 1992. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.