Bringing Back The Light Part 3: Hidden Treasures

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°
Part 3 of the Bringing Back The Light Series

We were well into getting the Lodge cleaned up.  The junk had been hauled off from that spare room.  Some of the painting had been done.  New carpet had been laid in the preparation room, and in that spare room as well.  And there was already a brand new roof on the Homer Temple!

It was time to dig into a project we'd been putting off.  We knew there was a lot of stuff in the attic of the Lodge--Greg Knott had seen it at one time.  We knew it needed to be brought down and gone through.  So one Saturday morning we gathered at the Lodge, and with the help of several Boy Scouts, we set about the task of bringing it all down.  We knew a lot of that stuff could have some historical significance, not only to the Fraternity but for the community as well, so we had two members of the Homer Historical Society, Molly Shoaf and Ray Cunningham, there to look through what we were bringing down. 

We set up a bucket brigade, and the ones that lost the coin toss and were up in the attic began handing down load, after load, after load, after load of stuff.  We filled several tables in the dining room.  We covered the floor of the Tyler's room . . . and it just kept coming.  I think we were all shocked at just how much was up there.
Left to right: Molly Shoaf, Greg Knott, Denver Phelps, and Jared Fritz
There were Grand Lodge Proceedings, newspapers, old movie posters, Lodge jewels, collars, hats probably belonging to Past Masters, etc.  There were records going back to the chartering of the Lodge 160 years ago--and since the building is only 124 years old, that means some of those records were moved from wherever the Masons met prior to building our current Temple.  There was framed art.  There were records pertaining to the York Rite Chapter and the Easter Star Chapters that had met there.  There were photographs and newspaper clippings pertaining to members of the Lodge from decades past.  There was evidence that a lot of entertainment was had in that old Lodge--there were many, many decks of old playing cards and poker chips.  It was a time capsule.
Molly Shoaf beginning the process of organizing the enormous treasure trove of records we discovered.
Most of the records and newspapers went with the Historical Society.  So far as I know, they are still going through those records.  Some of the things they've found were missing puzzle pieces of the town's history.  There were a few things we found up there that were pretty amazing--like old ceramic record albums with degree music on them that were recorded by the John Philip Sousa Band.  There was an old print up there so covered in dust we didn't even realize there was anything in the old frame when it was brought down--I've looked, and never found another Masonic print like it.  Every square inch of that 18 x 24 print is covered in tiny text quoting Masonic ritual and teaching.

As we looked at all this stuff, something changed . . . the purpose of our project seemed to change.  At least it did for me.  It was no longer about saving an old building, or even a Lodge.  It was about saving a piece of history that at least for the time being, was still alive and well after 160 continuous years. 

Once we got all that stuff down from the attic, the question was what we were going to do with it once we got through it all.  Put it all back up there to collect dust again?  How could we tell the 160 year old story of Freemasonry in Homer, Illinois that all these old artifacts represented?

Remember that spare room I mentioned?  It had three old glass cases in it--probably left overs from one of the businesses that operated out of the first floor of the temple at one time or another.  Kind of like the display cases you'd use in a museum.  Perhaps that's a story for the next installment--the story of the Homer Masonic Temple Museum.


Todd E. Creason, 33°, is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and is a regular contributor.  He is the author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is the author of the From Labor to Refreshment blog.  He is a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and currently serves as the Secretary, and is also a member of Homer Lodge No. 199 where he serves as Senior Warden.  He is a member the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, the York Rite Bodies of Champaign/Urbana (IL), the Ansar Shrine (IL), Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Charter President of the Illini High Twelve in Champaign-Urbana (IL), and a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research.  He is a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D.  He was named the 2014 Illinois Secretary of the Year Award by the Illinois Masonic Secretaries Association.  You can contact him at:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.