November 29, 2012 in City

Spokane’s historic Masonic Center for sale

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Jesse Tinsley photo

The Masonic Hall in downtown Spokane, dating from around the time of the first World War, has many original fixtures and equipment.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

Spokane’s historic Masonic Center is for sale.

The downtown landmark — once one of the city’s foremost entertainment venues — faces an uncertain future, its current owners say.

The nonprofit that manages the facility has decided the five-story building on Riverside Avenue is too expensive to operate. Ron Cunningham, president of the Masonic Temple Association of Spokane, said maintenance costs can’t be covered in a down economy.

A second factor, Cunningham noted, is the steady decline in all-male Masonic membership. There are still more than a dozen area lodges or related groups, including women’s auxiliaries, but their collective membership is falling steadily, he said.

“We have a hard time competing with young men who have families, who have to work two or three jobs,” Cunningham said.

The social goal of the Masons hasn’t changed, however; it continues to be “the betterment of people,” he said.

“But we don’t recruit. People have to come to us to be a member,” he said.

The building’s asking price is $1.75 million. Spokane County lists the assessed value at $1.3 million. This is the first time the building — originally the Masonic Temple — has been for sale.

Read the full report in Friday’s Spokesman-Review.

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