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West Virginia Women's Suffrage Trail

Zone 3 of 10: Clarksburg

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This is a contributing entry for West Virginia Women's Suffrage Trail and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

The Masonic Temple was built between 1911 and 1914. Masonic presence in the Clarksburg area dates back to 1814, when the original Virginia charter was granted. As Clarksburg became one of the most important and populous cities in western Virginia and later West Virginia, the need for a dedicated Masonic building was apparent. This seven-story Neo-Classical Revival building was designed by E.E. Pruitt of Columbus Ohio. The building was constructed by the Clarksburg Masonic Building Company, a corporation formed of organization members for the sole purpose of funding the structure. The completed building lives up to its temple title. The bottom two stories serve as a colossal base for four attached Doric columns, which stretch another three floors. The columns support a classical pediment which spans the building’s facade. The already unorthodox configuration is further exacerbated by two stories rising above the pediment — they were added in 1928. Though the building continues to serve as the location of Clarksburg’s Masonic Lodge, it also contains space for commercial offices.


Drawing of the Masonic Temple ca. 1911-1928. The top two floors had not yet been added, indicating what the building looked like before this change.

Building, Rectangle, Window, Font

The Masonic Temple today.

Building, Sky, Window, Cloud

Carrie Chapman Catt, c. 1913

Hairstyle, Eyebrow, Style, Art

The Wheeling Majority, August 3, 1916

Newspaper, Font, Publication, Paper

The Clarksburg Daily Telegram, August 12, 1916

Newspaper, Publication, Font, Paper

On August 3, 1916 Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, delivered an address on equal suffrage at the Masonic Temple in Clarksburg. This speech came directly after Catt had addressed the WV Democratic State Convention at Parkersburg, WV in support of women's suffrage. At the time of Catt's visit, the issue of women’s suffrage was a central issue because of the upcoming public referendum on the topic in November 1916. After several attempts, the West Virginia House and Senate had voted in 1915 to send a women’s suffrage amendment to the state constitution through to a public vote. As a result, suffrage leaders were very active in 1916 campaigning for support at the polls.

Chambers, S Allen. Masonic Temple (Ancient Free and Accepted Masons), SAH Archipedia. January 1st 2012. Accessed March 26th 2021. https://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WV-01-HR6.

The daily telegram. [volume], August 12, 1916, Page PAGE SIX, Image 4. Chronicling America. Accessed February 25, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85059715/1916-08-12/ed-1/seq-4/.

Effland, Anne Wallace. “The Woman Suffrage Movement in West Virginia, 1867-1920.” M. A. Thesis, West Virginia University, 1983.

“Fighting the Long Fight: West Virginia Women and the Right to Vote.” A West Virginia Archives and history Online Exhibit. West Virginia Archives & History. http://129.71.204.160/history////exhibitsonline/suffrage/suffrageintroductiontoc.html

The History of West Virginia, Old and New. Volume III. New York, New York. The American Historical Society, Inc., 1923.

Masonic Temple, Emporis. Accessed March 26th 2021. https://www.emporis.com/buildings/265238/masonic-temple-clarksburg-wv-usa.

Pauley, Michael J. Clarksburg Downtown Historic District, National Register of Historic Places. February 17th 1982. Accessed March 26th 2021. http://www.wvculture.org/shpo/nr/pdf/harrison/82004794.pdf.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

“New Masonic Temple, Clarksburg, W. Va.” West Virginia & Regional History Center. Accessed March 26th 2021. https://wvhistoryonview.org/catalog/045273.

Clarksburg Visitors’ Bureau. Accessed March 26th, 2021. https://www.clarksburgvisitorswv.com/historicbuildings.aspx.

"Carrie Chapman Catt." Wikipedia. Accessed February 25, 2022. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrie_Chapman_Catt

Wheeling majority. [volume], August 03, 1916, Image 6. Chronicling America. Accessed February 25, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092530/1916-08-03/ed-1/seq-6/.

The daily telegram. [volume], August 12, 1916, Page PAGE SIX, Image 4. Chronicling America. Accessed February 25, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85059715/1916-08-12/ed-1/seq-4/.