Secrets of an Abandoned Masonic Temple

A century-old masonic temple sits abandoned and heavily decaying. Decades since the departure of the Masons, the walls and ceilings of the ornate halls slowly fall in upon themselves and the many artifacts that remain.

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

North of Akron, Ohio, home of the abandoned Rubber Bowl Stadium and Rolling Acres Dead Mall, the city of Cleveland holds a treasure trove of forgotten structures with stories to tell. Among them is Newburgh Masonic Temple, the once grand meeting place of Ashlar Lodge.

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

Designed by Cleveland architect William J. Carter, construction of Newburgh Masonic Temple began in 1916. The structure was completed in 1917 at a cost of approximately $65,000 ($1.2 million in 2017 dollars) and the first meeting of the newly formed Ashlar Lodge took place there on May 31.

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

The site served as the home of Ashlar Lodge for a half-century. In 1969 the Masons decided to sell Newburgh Masonic Temple due to increasing maintenance costs and a lack of secure parking in the area.

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

It is unclear who occupied the building after the departure of the Freemasons, but it appears to have seen some use. A calendar from 1984 still hung on an office wall.

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

The structure now has extensive water damage on every floor. Layers of paint and plaster have fallen away revealing the underlying brick, which appears structurally sound (at least to my untrained eyes).

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

The temple has many interesting design features not often seen in modern buildings, including crown moulding, half doors, a dumbwaiter,

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

arched doorways,

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

two oddly-placed staircases that pass alongside one another,

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

 and wooden bench seating lining the walls of the massive meeting halls. 

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

Much of the sturdy wooden furniture and cabinetry remain intact and have held up well over time.

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

A china hutch in the basement still contains stacks of plates and dishes, which surprisingly haven't been smashed by vandals.

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

Two large rusting safes remain in an office. Their doors have been removed and the documents they once protected are scattered throughout the room.

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

A dusty roll of toilet paper still hangs in the bathroom.

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

One of the upper floors contains a flock of rubber duckies of unknown origin.

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

The future of Newburgh Masonic Temple remains uncertain. There do not seem to be any plans for future use or demolition.

Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio

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Abandoned Newburgh Masonic Temple in Cleveland Ohio