MUSKINGUM COUNTY, Ohio- The Masonic Temple that caught fire last Thursday destroyed many irreplaceable items that related to the history of the United States.
The historic building that stood for 120 years held significant artifacts and records that were 217 years worth and given to the freemasonry Zanesville organization, according to David Merckle, Tyler of Amity Lodge #5.
He expressed more on what all was lost for the fraternal organization during the fire.
“We had the first sword that General Putnam carried into battle in the revolution. We had the original officers’ jewels, which were provided by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and were commissioned by Paul Revere; they’re gone. We had a bible from 1862 that was a gift to the Lodge of Amity by the members during the Civil War,” Merckle stated.
Many historical letters like from the U.S. President Johnson in 1866 was held in the lodge and was most likely burned.
One item that is said to be saved is a time capsule that was placed in the cornerstone below grade of the basement on June 24th, 1902 by the Grand Master of Ohio.
“The owners of the building know where it’s at. Once the demolition happens, we’re hoping to be able to recover it,” Merckle said. “Everything was placed in a lead box. So it had something from the Lodge of Amity #5, something from Lafayette Lodge #79, something from Zanesville Chapter #9, Zanesville Capsule #12 and Cyrene Commander #10. All five bodies came together to build the building, they all put something in the box.”
Merckle said there has been a lot of outreach and support from the other state freemasonry organizations. The community is also stating they are finding papers that floated with the smoke through the town about three miles east.
“If anybody finds anything like that and they’re willing to donate it back to the lodge please get ahold of us because right now we have nothing and to have something back from what we lost would be amazing,” Merckle said.
Moving forward, the Lodge of Amity that was located in the Masonic Temple will now be meeting at the Paraphernalia of Lafayette Lodge #79.