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New Home for Bangor Masons 

Catherine Pegram

It’s a new beginning for Masons in Maine.More than five years ago, a massive fire wiped out their historic hall in downtown Bangor. Now they’re getting ready to make another landmark building their home – part of the former Bangor Theological Seminary. Members of the Masonic Hall in Bangor and other Masons have been homeless since the fire. Not anymore. The Bangor Masonic Foundation President Guy Chapman says, “After you’ve been burned out of your house for 5 1/2 years, and you find a new home, how do you think we feel? Very excited. Very excited.”In January of 2004, fire leveled the historic home for the Mason’s in downtown Bangor. Bangor Mayor Gerry Palmer says the images of fire and ice are burned in many people’s minds. “It’s a terrible loss to the downtown. It was a beautiful building and we’re tickled that they’ve got something that is equally historic and wonderful right here in downtown Bangor.”The Bangor Masonic Foundation purchased three buildings on the site of the former Bangor Theological Seminary on Hammond Street at a cost of $550,000 dollars.Chapman says plans to build a new hall on Perry Road fell apart when it became too costly. But State Grand Master Bob Landry says it was for the best. “We tried different options but obviously it was meant to be that we come here. Some of the different lodges have been meeting in different places like Old Town and Hampden, different places like that. Members have been traveling to different locations. It’s just going to centralize everything, the way it should be. The way it use to be.”About 2,000 Masons will soon call the former Seminary home. Landry considers it a payback, in a way, since the Seminary once rented the space that became the Masonic Lodge more than a century ago.”It’s fantastic. It’s just the greatest thing going, really, this is really going to be a fantastic place for the Masonic lodges, for all of the Mason bodies.”The Seminary property should be ready for Mason meetings starting in the fall. Other organizations that use the space will continue to rent from the Masons. Two other properties on the Seminary site have also been sold. No word yet on what will come of the vacant land on Main Street, left behind when the hall burned down.