Grand Lodge Building - History

During the very early years of operation of the Nashville Scottish Rite bodies, meetings were held in the quarters of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, housed at 306 7th Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee. This building was the property and location of Cumberland Lodge #8 F. & A. M. and was known as "Free Masons Hall." At the Stated Meeting of Moqedah Lodge of Perfection #7 on September 8, 1908, it was resolved "that the Scottish Rite Masons of the Valley of Nashville should take steps immediately to erect a Cathedral for their use." A committee was formed, and over the next several years plans were made and land purchased to achieve this goal.

During the summer of 1921, seven lots located on the corner of 7th Avenue North and Broadway were purchased. Bids for the erection of the Cathedral were sent out and Hugger Brothers Construction Company of Montgomery, Alabama was awarded the contract to build what was to be called the Scottish Rite Temple. The Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Tennessee, Brother Walker M. Taylor of Memphis, Tennessee, supported by a company of members of the Grand Lodge laid the cornerstone for the Temple on January 31, 1923. It was estimated that there were 3,000 present for the ceremony. The building was completed in time for the Scottish Rite to hold its Spring Reunion on April 14, 1925. The cost of the land was $100,000 and the building cost $736,022.

Financing the building had been difficult. While many members contributed as much as they could, economic conditions began to grow steadily worse and by 1929 when the great depression struck the country, the Scottish Rite Bodies found themselves in great financial straits. Their membership was eventually reduced to 300, dues had been reduced to $3.00 annually and still many were unable to provide for their families and continue to support the Rite financially. To avoid losing the building to mortgage holders, the Grand Lodge of Tennesse purchased the building on May 20, 1937 for $150,000 and took posession of the property, which is today known as the Grand Lodge Building of Tennessee.

*The above is exerpted and adapted from "One Hundred Years of Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in Valley of Nashville, Orient of Tennessee 1905-2005"