Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 16, 1972 · Page 66
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 66

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 16, 1972
Page 66
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Page 66 article text (OCR)

New home of Ashton Lodge 12, Ravenswood Masons. Three Generation Dream By Lois McCann Men have been dreamers since the b e g i n n i n g of recorded history. Only a few men have been able to accomplish their dreams. But, when enough men have the same dream, and t h e i r wives, a n d e v e n children share it; the chance is greater that the dream will come true. This was the way it happened with the Masons, Eastern Star, Rainbow and D e M o l a y in Ravenswood. Three generations ago, the men of Ashton Lodge 12, Ravenswood Masons talked of having a spacious lodge of which 'they could be proud. Getting to lodge meeting at that time, meant walking up three floors over a store in the d o w n t o w n a r e a of Ravenswood. Plans didn't Volunteers mix concrete during the building process. progress from the talk to the "do stage'' until sometime in 1964. At that time, a building committee was named consisting of: James Lee, John Cumberledge, Harry Easter, Kellis Howery, John Noll, A r t R i t c h i e , L e w i s Ressegger and Bob Pitthan. The original building plans were made by Bob Pitthan and John Noll. In 1965, the lodge purchased land for their hall on South Ritchie Avenue. Because Masons may not e a r n m o n e y t o w a r d a building as a group, the Shrine Club and Eastern Star found ways to earn the money. In 1970, ground was broken and work began. At this point the real c h a l l e n g e b e g a n . T h e Masons planned to construct a building valued at $125,900 for considerably less, by using all volunteer labor. To construct a building of over 7,000 square feet, entirely with volunteers, could have · taken years. These men w e r e n o t . t h e u s u a l volunteers. One year, 11 months, and 13 days after the ground breaking, the Masons held their, grand opening. Alvin DeHart, lodge member, served as chairman of the construction during the entire period. Serving on his committee were H a r r y E a s t e r , J o h n Cumberledge, David Karr, Russel C o n r a d , Carlos Milam, Danny Graham, Kellis Howery, John Noll and Miles Crawford. Milam, Crawford and Graham, did the electrical work; Bramer the plumbing w o r k ; S i m H a l l , heating :Dwight Byers and Romey Hughart the concret work. Choice of furnishings were left to Karr and Brammer. DeHart, a modest man, reported that although many were appointed chairmen, everyone was responsible f o r some p a r t d u r i n g construction. "Without the help of all the members, we never could have accomplished it in under two years." One of the larger buildings in Ravenswood, the finished s t r u c t u r e resembles a Southern mansion. The workmanship is professional from the porch, as you enter Between white pillars, through to the basement. The main lobby of the lodge extends across the front of the buidling and features a stone and brick fireplace and planter. Keith McClanahan, worshipful master, assumed the responsibility of laying the stone planter and Mr. and Mrs. Earl Brammer furnished the greenery used to fill it. Members of the Eastern Star chapter purchased the carpeting for the lobby and main lodge room. The lodgeroom extends to the rear of the building and is equipped with special lighting, which will be used d u r i n g t h e M a s o n i c ceremonies. The room, carpeted in red. is furnished with chairs upholstered in blue, and intricately carved chairs on the stages for the dignitaries. The chairs have been purchased by the lodge members and will bear nameplates designating the purchaser. Other rooms on the upper level i n c l u d e d r e s s i n g rooms, rest rooms, and locked storage. As you descend the steps to the basement, there is a spacious k i t c h e n , a n d a l a r g e ballroom, capable of seating 300 to 400 persons for dinners. This room will be used for Rainbow functions and possibly for some community activities. When May 13 arrived, the ballroom was filled to capacity with tables and Masons, wives, and guests from all over West Virginia.Visitors from other lodges were heard to comment, that they had never seen a more complete lodge hall, anywhere. During the o p e n i n g c e r e m o n i e s , speeches were given by officers in the Masonic organizations, as well as dignitaries from other lodges. The Masonic sovereign grand inspector general of West Virginia, C. Leon Mclntosh of Charleston said: "I take my hat off to these Masons who accomplished what seemed impossible." One of the high points of the evening was a special p r e s e n t a t i o n of a new Masonic r i n g to A l v i n DeHart, who had put in so many long hours and many miles in finding the needed supplies. Current lodge officers are Keith McClanahan, worshipful master; Bob Miller, j u n i o r w a r d e n ; . Rondel Tackett, senior deacon; Van Shepherd, junior deacon; Charles Fast, tiler; Roff Twiggs, secretary; Clyde Nancarrow, treasurer; and Merrill West, chaplain. The history of Ashton Lodge'12 dates back to times preceding the Civil War. During the war years, their charter was b u r i e d for safekeeping and they often had to meet in secret. The descendants of those determined Masons, have proved that when men dream long enough, dreams can result in buildings. .Sunday Gazette-Mail

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