The Masonic Temple: a cornerstone in Orland life
The Masonic Temple at 431 Colusa Street has long served as an Orland landmark. Below is an account of the building and its cornerstone, published in "Orland's Colorful Past" by Gene Russell.
The Orland lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, No. 265, was organized in 1882. Meetings were held on the upper floor of the Bank of Orland building.
News of Orland's "first skyscraper" broke in local papers in January 1913, with plans for a Masonic Temple. Final plans, drafted by Berkeley architect C.L. Stiles, called for a 90-foot by 40-foot concrete building with cut stone trimmings around the entrance. Three stories in height, the first floor was to be occupied by the First National Bank and a barbershop.
Under the headline "Cornerstone of Masonic Temple Laid," the Orland Register of Aug. 9, 1913, gave the following report:
"Without any ceremony, the cornerstone of the Masonic Temple was sealed Thursday afternoon (Aug. 7). Inside of the heavy stone was placed a box sealed according to Masonic rites, and containing Masonic papers and other documents of interest. The box was placed by Contractor Peterson and several of the local Masons. When the building is ready for dedication, there will be elaborate Masonic ceremonies."
The Orland public was invited to a housewarming on April 25, 1914. The main lodge room on the third floor was given over to visiting, while dancing and cards were played on the second floor. About 400 enjoyed the affair as the building remained crowded until midnight.
Formal dedication with all the ritual and ceremony of the Masonic order took place May 14, 1914, and was attended by 300 members of the organization. A banquet followed in Maple Hall.
Orland History celebrates the city's past during this centennial year. This edited account is reproduced with permission from the Orland Historical and Cultural Society.