Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Originally Tyrian Masonic Lodge, then Prince Hall Masonic Lodge, now Atlantic Senior Center
Address: 68 Pennsylvania Avenue
Cross Streets: Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue
Neighborhood: Cypress Hills
Year Built: 1906-1907
Architectural Style: Neo-Classical
Architect: Harde & Short
Other buildings by architect: Kismet Temple in Bedford Stuyvesant, Bushwick Hospital, Maurice T. Lewis house in Sunset Park, several Brooklyn theaters, as well as Alywn Court and other apartment buildings in Manhattan
The story: Pennsylvania Avenue, which runs through Cypress Hills and East New York, was one of the 26th Ward’s premier avenues. In fact, it was THE premier avenue for the waning years of the 19th century, on into the 20th. Along its length were fine homes, as well as important institutions such as banks, churches, police stations, post offices and clubs. This building was home to one of the more influential local clubs.
Freemasonry has a long history, both in Europe and here in the United States. Throughout its history, the well-connected as well as the humble have been initiated into its ranks. There are many branches of Masons; the Tyrian Masons trace their history back to the ancient Biblical city of Tyre, and the time of Solomon’s Temple. They eventually made their way to England and Ireland, and then here.
The Tyrian Lodge Number 618 was founded in 1867, and had rooms on Atlantic Avenue by at least 1873. From their activities as chronicled in the newspapers, the lodge was primarily made up of men with Anglo-Saxon surnames. There were very few German members, which is interesting, as the 26th Ward had a very large number of German residents. The Germans did have their own Masonic lodge, not Tyrians, who often met in concert with Lodge #618. (more…)