Friday, 12 April 2019 12:10

North Broadway Masonic Lodge for Sale

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The North Broadway building that has served as a Masonic Lodge for the past 65 years is being placed up for sale.  

Rising Sun Lodge No. 103 was founded in 1809 and first held meetings at Reynolds Corners, located about four miles north of Gansevoort. The lodge moved to Wilton a decade later and in the 1820s relocated to Saratoga Springs, long before Saratoga Springs became a city. Several different venues  in and around Saratoga Springs were used for more than a century that followed, before eventually purchasing the building at 687 North Broadway in the early 1950s, where the Rising Sun lodge has been located ever since. 

“Past Masters” of the local organization have included prominent 19th century Saratogians Reuben Hyde Walworth, Carey B. Moon - of the invention of the potato chip fame , and Edgar Truman Brackett, among others.    

The lodge sits on just under one-half acre of land on a corner lot, features two floors, an attic, an unfinished basement and is listed at $1.3 million.

“It’s 8,000 square feet with an unfinished floor in the attic that could be amazing. We believe whoever buys this is going to finish that third floor,” said Joann Potrzuski Cassidy, licensed associate real estate broker at Julie & Co. Realty.

The main floor features 10-1/2-foot-tall ceilings in a Lady's Sitting Room, and a butler's pantry. There are a quartet of fireplaces throughout – although some work will be required to get them re-functioning. Its potential future uses are seemingly endless: from a single-family home with nanny quarters or a neighborhood bed-and-breakfast, to an organization’s use as a private school, religious institution, or senior housing facility. A unique split staircase to the second floor lends itself to potential as a condominium project – although that would require Special Use variance from the city’s Land Use Boards.

The single staircase splits on the first landing and leads into two, opposite direction leading staircases, each feeding into a different and separate wing upstairs. One leads to a big, unfinished attic that boasts arched windows; the other to a massive meeting room where members meet and sites an altar in the center of the room, seating for the Worshipful Master against the east wall, the Senior Warden against the west wall and symmetrical rows along the north and south areas where members are seated. The Masons use ritual in their meetings and a Volume of the Sacred Law – usually the Bible, King James translation sits atop the center-room altar, but Masonry is not a religion. 

The home was built in about 1904 for Harry S. Ludlow, of Troy, and designed by architect R. Newton Brezee – designer of dozens of Saratoga Springs buildings, including many residences still standing along Union Avenue and North Broadway.

The Masons, or Freemasons, call themselves members of the largest and oldest fraternity in the world. Specific details regarding the group’s origins are murky, although it is believed likely to have come from the guilds of the stonemasons in the Middle Ages, and possibly influenced by the Knights of Templar – described by the Masonic Information Center in Maryland as Christian warrior monks formed in 1118 to help protect pilgrims making trips to the Holy Land.  A formal organization was initiated in England in 1717 and spread to the colonies within a few short years.

Masonry has a reputation of being “secretive” – there are grips and passwords that Masons share with one another – but Amy Lynch, president of the Masonic Hall Association of Saratoga Springs, says the biggest secret is the good work they do, particularly in the medical field.

“We’re the best-kept secret and we do a lot of good in the community,” Lynch said.

Under the banner of the Masonic Family, the Rising Sun Lodge is involved with the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory in Utica; the Washington Commandry is part of the Knights Templar – whose  philanthropic projects involves the Knights Templar Eye Foundation; the Cryptic council works with Parkinson’s disease research, and the Royal Arch Masons are also part of a medical research program.

Of the women’s groups – the Order of the Eastern Star – whose members include women and men, has had a regional chapter for the past 122 years and maintains a campus in Oriskany that houses a day care facility for children and independent living accommodations. The Order of the Amaranth focuses its philanthropic energies on diabetes research.

Perhaps best know are Shriners International – the fraternity based on Masonic principles and support of Shriners Hospitals for Children, at 22 locations throughout North America.

Masonic Hall Association Board Member Harold Goodsell says Rising Sun Lodge No. 103 – which is not a tax-exempt organization - is looking to relocate close to but not in the city of Saratoga Springs, to a smaller building that would be more accommodating to members and may actually construct an entirely new building to suit its purposes. 


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