An article by IMTA Board Member Chris Hodapp, from the April 2007 issue of the Indiana Freemason Magazine. (PDF reader required.)
The rains stopped long enough on the evening of July 23rd for several members of the Temple Board to see a practical demonstration of the new exterior lighting project. In the shot above, it's easy to see how Freemasons' Hall is little more than an invisible silhouette on the city skyline.
This is just one shaft of light coming from just one compact, lightweight LED lighting fixture, set on the ground, as a demonstration. When really installed, these will be mounted above the cornice and the whole area between the columns will glow with light, making our Temple a truly impressive nighttime addition to the city.
But the best feature of all can't be seen in this photo. Each light fixture is made up of rows of high-intensity LEDs that can be computer controlled to achieve any color of the rainbow. The effect is truly amazing and when this project is completed, everyone in Indianapolis will know where Indiana Freemasons Hall is!
We will have the ability to change the color of the lighting with the press of a button. We will be able to display multiple colors at one time, and even to create a pattern effect with the lights switching to different colors alternately. Perhaps the most impressive thing of all is the vast amount of light emitted with only a minimum amount of electricity. When fully installed, the entire exterior of the building will be lit using less electricity than six 100 watt light bulbs! And most important for our future, the life span of these fixtures is estimated to be 20 years or more, with no bulbs ever to replace.
We hope to have the system installed by mid September. Watch the skies!
The sounds of jackhammers, drills, saws and occasional broken water pipe are ringing through the Temple this summer, as many projects are underway.
On the ground floor, the Masonic Home Foundation is making a huge investment in the future of Freemasons' Hall and is undergoing a complete renovation of their office space. The former Grand Lodge Library room that had been used for many years as GL storage was outgrown, and GL records have been moved upstairs. The Home Foundation is expanding into this space and is creating a beautiful new conference room. When complete, the Foundation has offered to make the new, air conditioned meeting space available to other groups if it is not being used for their own meetings. Many thanks to the MHF for their confidence in the future of Indiana Freemasons' Hall! By the way, in case you're looking for the Foundation while the work is being done, they have set up temporary digs at the Scottish Rite Cathedral across the street.
On the second floor, the woefully inadequate rest rooms at the north end of the Banquet Hall are at last being enlarged and transformed into more modern facilities. New plumbing has been roughed in for completely redesigned, handicap-accessible men's and ladies rooms, and we are in the bidding stage now for contractors to finish them, using quality materials and decor that are in keeping with the period feel of the building. More news on this project as it happens.
As new organizations express interest in renting our building, it is vitally important that we bring our Temple into the modern age, with handicapped access for our members and visitors. In keeping with that goal, a new entrance is coming for the south side of the building. The crumbling stairs and obsolete wheelchair lift will soon be replaced by a new concrete ramp and stairs, covered by an awning. In addition, the parking lot on the south side of the Temple will be expanded as much as our limited property line will allow us - perhaps four new spaces. Final drawings have been made, and we are in the bidding process now. We anticipate construction to begin in September.
Work continues to place the Temple on the National List of Historic Places, which will open up a path to grants and other programs that will help us to restore the theater to its original glory, and much more.
Building security will soon be provided by an independent contractor, Securitas. This has been very successful at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, and we believe it is vital as more outside groups begin renting the building. Details will be provided soon to all organizations meeting in the building.
As lodges return to the building at the end of summer, many of the lodge rooms will be bathed in new light. We are slowly removing the light-blocking circular pans that were installed decades ago over the original lodge room light fixtures. These aluminum saucers made the lighting more indirect, but swallowed up more than 60% of the illumination. The difference is truly amazing. Many thanks to Brothers Steve Estle and Tim Brinkmeyer for this ongoing project.
Finally, in the coming weeks, we will share with you some of the VERY generous gifts to the Temple from some unexpected sources. For right now, we will simply say that the Board has been surprised by several incredible donations that have come literally out of the blue. Money is starting to come to us from the entire family of Indiana Freemasonry as more and more of our brethren and the appendant groups realize that the future is indeed bright at Indiana Freemasons' Hall.
- Chris Hodapp
Earlier this week, Brandt Construction began site preparation for the south entrance renovation project. This means that the south parking lot is closed for the duration, which we hope will be no more than five to six weeks.
The Board will meet next week to finalize plans and choose a contractor for the 2nd floor restroom project. This project will provide a modern, clean restroom facility with 400% more capacity than we had before. It is hoped that this project will be finished by the first of December, so as to be available for the various end-of-year festivities that take place in the 2nd floor dining room.
We hope that many of you have had a chance to view the outside of the building at night; the lights are beautiful and really add character to our Temple. We hope to be able to install the remaining 11 LED units sometime next year.
On Friday, the flagpole was reset in front of the almost-completed ramp. We are now waiting for the paving company to pave the parking lot and for the stone masons to install the limestone facing for the new stairs and ramp. There are some other minor issues to be attended to (a blue awning will be installed over the landing, a fence similar to the one recently installed at the Scottish Rite Cathedral will eventually be built on the west and south sides of the parking lot, new lighting fixtures that more closely match the ones at the west and north entrances will replace those forlorn bulbs, and a locking gate will be installed over the stairway to the basement) but we are a lot closer to finishing today than we were a month ago.
Oh, and the dirt area in front of the ramp will be landscaped as soon as we find a landscaping contractor.
I had to manipulate these a bit in Photoshop because of the deep shade on the stairs, but I don't think they came out too badly. As usual, click on the pictures for a larger view.
There's not much activity over the summer at Freemasons' Hall, but when lodges return at the end of summer they will see some new faces at the welcome desk. The Temple Association has employed the services of Securitas to provide security for the building. With new activity, renters and other events, the Board has determined that we need professional personnel to keep track of the many new people coming in and out of the building, and to provide greater safety for our members.
In the coming weeks, the Board will be providing all lodges and Masonic bodies in the building with new scheduling procedures. Because Securitas is a paid service, the longtime informal methods of scheduling events in the building must become more formal and standardized so we can ensure the building is open, with security folks on duty. Lodge and appendant body secretaries and recorders will soon receive official notification of the new procedures. Once issued, we must insist that these new guidelines are adhered to. Otherwise, you could find the building locked for your event, and no one wants that to happen.
Watch your mailboxes and look for postings in the building coming soon.
The M.W. Grand Master of Masons in Indiana, Jeffery P. Zaring, on Thursday January 15, 2009, issued his Official Permission No. 55, which allows any Lodge holding a charter from the Grand Lodge of Indiana, F. & A. M., to confer a Masonic degree in one of the Lodge Rooms in Freemasons' Hall in Indianapolis up to three times between January 15, 2009, and May 19, 2009, subject to a few conditions outlined in the permission. This dispensation was sent to all Lodge Secretaries on Friday, January 16.
Secretaries should contact the Indianapolis Masonic Temple Association at firstname.lastname@example.org if their Lodge is interested in conferring a degree at the Hall under the terms of this Official Permission.
The Indianapolis Masonic Temple Association is pleased to announce that we have again been selected as a grant recipient by The Scottish Rite of Indianapolis Foundation. Each year the Foundation awards thousands of dollars in grants to selected non-profit groups in the Indianapolis community as well as to various Masonic groups. The grants were presented at a January 22 luncheon held in the Indianapolis Scottish Rite Ballroom.
Grants were awarded to the following community organizations: Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Indiana, Flanner House of Indianapolis, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Hemophilia of Indiana, Indiana University School of Medicine, Kids' Voice of Indiana, Meals on Wheels, Police Athletic League of Indianapolis, Ronald McDonald House of Indiana, United Christmas Service, United Way of Indiana.
In addition to the IMTA, grants were awarded to the following Masonic organizations: Leon M. Abbott Scholarship Fund, Indiana Masonic Home Foundation, Indianapolis 32nd Degree Masonic Learning Center for Children, Masonic Relief Board of Indiana, Masonic Youth Groups, Murat Shrine Transportation Fund.
The IMTA was awarded $12,000. Together with matching funds from the Grand Lodge of Indiana, this will facilitate the completion of the exterior lighting project on Indiana Freemasons' Hall and also the purchase of a computer kiosk for the building's first floor lobby.
The IMTA wishes to express its appreciation to the Scottish Rite of Indianapolis Foundation for the generous grant. We also congratulate the Foundation for their commitment to the Indianapolis Community and our fellow Masonic organizations.
The following brethren will serve as officers for the Indianapolis Masonic Temple Association in 2009:
James R. Dillman, President
Dennis D. Sheets, Vice President
Christopher L. Hodapp, Treasurer
Nathan C. Brindle, Secretary
Gary M. Selig, Member-at-large
Representing the Grand Lodge of Indiana through May of 2009:
PGM James M. Barkdull, Grand Lodge Trustee
PGM Duane L. Vaught, Grand Lodge Trustee
PGM Richard W. Wierzba, Grand Lodge Trustee
PGM Michael D. Brumback, Grand Lodge Representative-at-large
PGM John E. Grein, Grand Lodge Representative-at-large
Phase II of the relocation of the Grand Lodge of Indiana Library & Museum from Franklin to Indianapolis is underway this week. Last summer, a portion of the museum artifacts were moved from the Indiana Masonic Home to the 5th floor of Indiana Freemasons' Hall in Indianapolis, and temporarily set up to give brethren some idea of the collection's scope. This week, a moving crew is bringing the shelving, books and archives to their new home. While it will take time, patience and effort to reorganize the collection, the important news is that the library will soon be accessible. The Library/Museum board will be scheduling regular work days each month. But the biggest benefit is that the collection will now be in a safe, secure location that will receive regular attention, and back home again in the headquarters of Indiana Freemasonry.
Indiana Freemasons' Hall is not an Indianapolis institution, it belongs to every Freemason in the state of Indiana. Improvements are being made to the building, and the Temple Board is dedicated to making it a place we are all proud of, as well as a destination for Indiana Masons to visit, tour, perform degree work, and make use of its facilities.
In other areas:
• Centre Lodge has made great strides with the redecoration of their 3rd floor social room.
• Hundreds of old steel lockers have been removed from the Raper Commandery No. 1 Armory on the 7th floor to create a massive new space that is being adapted for offices, storage, and a social area for the Indianapolis DeMolay Chapter.
• New offices are being built for the Masonic relief Board and the Indiana Masonic Scholarship Board.
• Generous contributions by the Indianapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite have purchased an electronic event kiosk for the lobby, and soon, new chairs and round tables for the 2nd floor Reception Hall.
• We have entered into an agreement with the Scottish Rite Cathedral that will allow their event planner to book weddings, reunions, meetings, etc. in our building, giving us a growing presence in the community, as well as an increasing stream of revenue.
• And we have undertaken an extensive engineering study to determine the most feasible way to air condition the building, which will stabilize the interior plaster and furnishings, along with the most important benefit, making the building habitable year-round for the first time since it was built a century ago.
If you are an Indiana Mason and didn't have the chance to visit the building during Founder's Day, don't be a stranger. Take the opportunity to visit YOUR Indiana Freemasons' Hall this year!
Yesterday, Moss Glass from Anderson, Indiana, installed new doors at the south (parking lot) entrance. The new doors replaced the original 1909 doors which had long withstood the ravages of time, but as all of us who had passed through them lately were aware, their time for replacement had come.
The new doors are designed to be handicap-accessible. The larger door on the right will have an automatic opener (to be installed by early next week). The left-hand door will normally be locked, but can be opened to allow larger items to be brought into the building.
Moss also installed an inner door in the vestibule where an older, wooden door was removed many years ago. Restoring a door to this position will help keep cold air out of the building in the winter, and help reduce our heating bills.
These doors are similar in construction to the proposed replacement windows for which the Board is trying to find financing.
It's been in the high 80s and even the 90s for the last several weeks in Indianapolis, but the Temple has been markedly cooler than in past years. That's not by accident. Brother Randy Spaulding has been literally crawling inside the ductwork all over the building in an attempt to divine the mysteries of the 101 year old ventilation system. "When they built this place, those men wore wool suits and hats all the time," says Randy. "They didn't just put up with this kind of heat."
Thanks to his hard work and stubborn single-mindedness, he has reactivated a second major air handling system that is pumping hot air out and creating literally a stiff breeze in some parts of the building. And he continues to work on the dampers hidden throughout the system to make it effective in the upper floors.
No, it's not exactly chilly during a 90 degree day. But it's far more inhabitable than it's been literally in decades. Thanks Randy!