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Freemasons: Known for public service, entertainment, charity for more than 200 years

by Tom Matowitz, FreshWater, October 13, 2022

Cleveland’s first Masonic lodge was organized in 1811, its charter was allowed to lapse in the face of Anti-Masonic movement prevailing in the 1830s. The city’s first purpose-built Lodge building was constructed in 1883 at Superior Avenue and East 6th Street. By 1859 Scottish Rite Freemasons were established in Cleveland. The Scottish Rite traces its existence back to the massacre of the Knights Templar in Paris in 1307. Interestingly, this bloodbath took place on Oct. 13, 1307, thereby creating the tradition that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day.

Cleveland’s Masonic Auditorium was home to the Cleveland Orchestra for its first decade of existence. During World War II the building housed a large USO facility, housing thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. The auditorium provided a home for a range of Masonic bodies, including the Al Sirat Grotto and Scottish Rite.

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