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Erik's Masonic Journey

Tue, 20 Jun 2000

After a long weekend and a busy trip to Portland, I'm back! I had some interesting Masonic adventures this weekend. While in downtown Portland on Hawthorne street, we came across an old brick building with some magnificent columns. It was fairly large, and I remember thinking how neat it would be if it was a Masonic temple. Well, it was! Apparently it was sold off sometime in the past, but the cornerstone indeed identified it as the former home of Sunnyside Lodge No. 163, A.F. & A.M. The building was built in 1919 and the cornerstone laid by "M.W.C.M.". Currently the old temple isn't in the best of shape. The Lodge room, which still has many of its original benches and some Masonic decoration, is home to an artsy head shop and the rear part of the building houses an Irish pub. There is still a very nice floor mosaic right when you walk into the building with a large decorated "G". I took some pictures, and can hopefully have them up here someday.

It was depressing to see such a fine building in such a state of disrepair, and I was afraid that perhaps Sunnyside #163 had seen the last of its days. However, I see some references to it on the web so hopefully it's alive and well in a newer, nicer building. I was also happy to see the very beautiful building being used by Washington Lodge #101 on 52nd Street. It seems there's a lot of interesting Masonic history in Oregon, and I sure wish I could find some books about it.

My second great Masonic adventure happened out in Forest Grove, the home of the Grand Lodge of Oregon. This was interesting, because a chain of restaurant breweries called McMenamins bought the old Grand Lodge and retirement home and turned it into a great restaurant and hotel called the McMenamins Grand Lodge. My friends wanted to take me there so I could point out Masonic symbolism in the building, but it seems that McMenamins took away most of the old decoration. And unfortunately we weren't able to tour the real Masonic Grand Lodge because they aren't open on Sundays. I plan on going back there someday during the week, that's for sure.

The new Grand Lodge building is very impressive. I wish I had a photo of it! Anyhow, I am interested in hearing from fellow Masons in Oregon, especially those who can share with me some history of the Portland Lodges. Please e-mail me if you have any information.

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