Miamisburg Temple History

At the stated meeting of Minerva Lodge on October 2, 1899, the brethren discussed the matter of a new meeting place. On March 1, 1900 they voted to begin money raising drive and at the March 8, 1900 meeting a committee of six was appointed to work with the Trustees to find a new Hall. At a special meeting on Friday, February 8, 1901 the committee reported that they felt that a new building should be built and that it would be two stories high with a basement. This was so part of the building could be rented to the public. The approximate cost they estimated to be $14,000.00. The committee also recommended the purchase of a lot for $2,000.00 from Mrs. Elizabeth Treon at First St. and Linden Avenue. Because it was to be used for Masonic purposes Mrs. Treon offered to donate $400.00 of the purchase price in honor of her late husband, Dr. John Treon. An option was taken to purchase the lot on Monday, April 1, 1901. The committee then recommended that a sum of $6,000.00 should be raised from the membership. A little over $3,000.00 (over $90K in 2019 dollars) was raised that evening.

The Masonic Temple Association was incorporated in April 1901. The directors of the Association are Newton J. Catrow, president; William J. Kauffman, Frank S. Nelson, treasurers; Lewis H. Zehring, secretary; William Gamble, Charles W. Grove, William H. Albrecht. The committee purchased the lot from Mrs. Treon, but the money was not coming in fast enough and it was deemed impracticable to proceed with the new building. At the June 13, 1901 stated meeting they announced that the Methodist Church property and building on Second St. was for sale and at a price that would enable the Lodge to go into it practically out of debt. After serious discussion the Temple Board was instructed to take an option on the building.

The Temple Association announced at the stated meeting of February 22, 1902 that they had closed the contract to purchase the Methodist Church building for the sum of $5,600.00, including a little house on the adjacent lot which was later torn down to make way for a parking lot. The organ not included in the original contract, but the Board of the Methodist Episcopal Church decided that it would be easier to purchase a new instrument, so the Miamisburg Temple Association purchased the organ for an additional $700.00. Minerva Lodge was to take possession of the property on April 1, 1902, with the privilege of the Church to meet on the first-floor room until the new church building was ready for occupancy. At the of June 26, 1902 stated meeting the Lodge agreed that they would move from the I.O.O.F. Building to the new Temple. They also decided at that time not to have meetings during the summer months.

The laying of the cornerstone of the new Masonic Temple was a front-page story in September 1901. The Miamisburg News reported that it was an event of great importance to the members of Minerva Lodge…and Trinity Chapter. This new Temple of Masonry was the result of a long-continued effort on the part of the members to secure larger and more commodious quarters than were afforded in the third floor of Hoff's block. For over forty years the Masonic Lodge occupied these quarters, which of recent years has become too small to accommodate the rapidly growing membership.

The cornerstone ceremony was performed by officers of the Grand Lodge on Wednesday, September 24, 1902. During the ceremony Brother Charles V. Dodds, Grand Treasurer, read the following list of articles in the copper box deposited in the corner-stone: the Holy Bible, square, and compasses; Proceedings of Grand Lodge for 1826 and 1901; Chapter Proceedings for 1901; Rosters of Minerva Lodge #98 and Trinity Chapter #44; the Masonic Temple Association members and directors; names of the architect, builders, and contractors; a copy of the Miamisburg News, September 11 1902; and copies of the Sunday Commercial Tribune and Dayton Journal.

The renovation was completed, and the Temple was officially dedicated on Wednesday, April 23, 1903. In his remarks at the ceremony, Grand Master William A. Belt noted that plenty of Masonic spirit glows on the altars of this Miami Valley town, and if any of the Lodges are looking for a place to learn how to build their homes just right, take my advice and go and see Miamisburg.

The Miamisburg Masonic Temple has been continuously occupied since that time.