Masonic Temple (Parkersburg, West Virginia)
The Masonic Lodge in downtown Parkersburg
Architect Frank Lucius Packard (1866-1923) as a young man.
A postcard of the Masonic Temple from the 1910s.
A later postcard from the 1920s.
Yet another postcard illustrates the building's popularity and importance as a Parkersburg landmark.
An early photograph of the site. In Black and white, the stark contrast between red brick and white limestone is particularly apparent. Courtesy of Jim Dawson, ElectricEarl.com.
The lodge's neon sign, added later. Courtesy of RoadsideArchitecture.com.
Backstory and Context
This wide, red brick building was designed by architect Frank L. Packard of Columbus, Ohio, who also went on to design a home for President Warren G. Harding in Marion, Ohio, a group of buildings at the Ohio State University campus, Parkersburg High School, and the original West Virginia State Capitol Annex, among others. Less well known today, Frank Packard's death in 1923 was front page news for both major Columbus newspapers.
The structure's first story, built of limestone ashlar (very finely cut, precisely fitted stone with minimal joints between), forming a strong visual contrast that has made the Temple an iconic Parkersburg landmark from the beginning, as evidenced by countless postcards throughout the century.
Surrounding the lodge within the Avery Street Historic District are at least twelve different architectural styles, primarily residential, reflecting the economic, social, and architectural trends of the 1900s and 1910s. The lodge was a centerpiece for the burgeoning suburb, which contained a large number of middle-class families that helped propel Parkersburg's growth in the early part of the century. The Temple was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, and joined by the entry of the entire historic district in 1986.
National Register of Historic Places, Avery Street Historic District, Parkersburg, Wood County, West Virginia, National Register #86000849.
Frank L. Packard. Grandview Heights / Marble Cliff Historical Society. . Accessed September 18, 2018. http://www.ghmchs.org/PackardFiles/packard.html.
Frank Packard, Architect. Osura News. . Accessed September 18, 2018. https://alumnigroups.osu.edu/osura/wp-content/uploads/sites/267/2016/09/8-2016-newsletter.pdf.