Couple making plans after buying Masonic Lodge in Alliance
ALLIANCE – Sunlight streamed through gauze curtains in the room with wide, high ceilings. The walls were sky blue, and the hardwood floor creaked softly. A small stage sat in the center of the room. The Square and Compasses symbol – an emblem associated with Freemasonry – hung on the wall behind it.
In the back of the room, Julie Brown sat at a round table. She and her husband, Chris, have spent many hours cleaning and rehabilitating the building on South Linden Avenue that they purchased two months ago.
But what inspired a Tallmadge couple to buy a 207-year-old Masonic Lodge? Julie Brown acknowledged that it might seem unusual, but the couple has always wanted to live somewhere with unique architecture.
“It ticked all the right boxes for us,” she said.
The Browns are both eBay sellers. Chris sells car parts, while Julie sells a variety of items. They keep most of their inventory in storage units.
“We had been looking to rent a storage facility, a place to store more stuff … the temple popped up several times on Facebook Marketplace, and I just kept blowing it off,” Julie Brown said.
They continued their search. Time passed. The property seller dropped their asking price, reigniting the couple’s interest. They toured the building at 144 S. Linden Ave., asked questions and talked about it with friends.
Days later, the Masonic Lodge was theirs.
The building was constructed in 1815. It once served as the home of Alliance’s Conrad Lodge Masons. The Freemasons are one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the world.
The building has changed hands several times in recent years. City Director of Planning and Economic Development Joe Mazzola said it was sold to Sarchione in October 2020 and again in 2021 to South Linden LLC before the Browns bought it in March.
Julie Brown said the lodge needs some cosmetic repairs, but is in “such perfect condition” despite its age.
Inside, the building seemed like a collage of different decades. Black-and-white tile covered the kitchen floor, while a room formerly reserved for the Masonic Lodge’s female visitors bore green carpet and pistachio-colored walls; bulbous light fixtures and gold accents appeared throughout many of the rooms; and a rope-pulled dumbwaiter connected the basement to the kitchen.
Brown said they have given tours of the building to many friends and family members in recent weeks. Everyone has been amazed by the building, she said.
The Conrad Masons left behind many items, including old robes, books, signs, handwritten ledgers, and bulky, old-fashioned suitcases. Brown said she doesn’t know much about the history of Freemasonry, but she has been going through the items.
“Being eBay sellers, there’s lots to sell. We haven’t sold anything yet, but we’re getting there,” she said.
She said she and her husband have not yet decided what they will do with the building. Several area groups have contacted them about renting the space for meetings and rehearsals. They might convert some of the space into a rental hall.
“We’ll probably have vendor fairs of some sort (at some point). Honestly, we just don’t really know. We have plans … but we haven’t committed to any of that yet,” she said.
One certainty is that they plan to preserve the historical elements of the lodge.
“When I was younger, I was a nanny in New York City, and I lived in a building at the time,” Brown said. “And I always said ‘I’m going to live in a building someday.'”
Reach Paige at 330-580-8577 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @paigembenn.