Kennebunkport’s Masonic Temple

The cornerstone of the new Masonic Lodge was laid at the site of the new building next to Robert and Earnest Benson’s Blacksmith Shop on Temple St on Saturday, October 26, 1929. Everyone gathered at the Olympian Club House, the temporary home of Arundel Lodge 76. A line was formed. The grand officers and members marched to the site of the future building. Judge Harold E. Cook of Gardiner, Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge of Maine laid the 12x12x3 inch corner stone over a copper box which contained past records of Arundel Lodge from the date of its charter in 1854 to 1929 .

The two-story hip roofed building would have a box porch front with portico. A banquet hall and kitchen would be on the ground floor and an auditorium on the second. Contractor Walter Clough anticipated the building would be ready for occupancy by January 1. It wasn’t.

The stock market crashed the Monday after the cornerstone of the new temple was laid. October 28, 1929 is still remembered as Black Monday. Like so many others in the United States, the Lodge lost its bank construction loan after the crash but in true Kennebunkport fashion, the community managed to make up the shortfall with fundraising events and free labor. By February 7, 1930, the outside of the building was finished; clapboarded and painted white. The inside was ready for plastering but was delayed until a furnace could be paid for and installed.

A most remarkable gift was given to his Masonic brotherhood by artist Louis D. Norton. He offered to paint murals on the walls of the second-floor Lodge Room, where meetings and ceremonies have since been held. Norton’s murals depict Old Testament history. He finished in May of 1930 after a month of twelve hour painting days.

On Saturday, October 18, 1930 Arundel Lodge, No. 76, finally dedicated its new Masonic temple. It was estimated that as many as 500 Masons from other lodges came to Kennebunkport for the event. Following the dedication ceremony, the building was opened to the general public, and 500 more came to see Norton’s murals and feast at a banquet served in the new dining hall.

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