Freemason Cultural Center

Additional suggestions made by residents and staff brought about the design of the new Freemasons Cultural Center, which will comprise a new museum, new recreation areas, and the newly renovated Deike Auditorium and White Ballroom. From focus groups with residents, the Committee on Masonic Homes and staff found that more residents would participate in activity programming if the recreation areas were closer to their living areas. Residents also expressed that, while the current museum is beautiful, it is in an area where visitors often miss it. To remedy those concerns, the Masonic Homes' Museum will move to a more prominent area where visitors will more readily see it, and the recreation rooms will move to the museum's current location.

The Deike Auditorium, named for the late George H. Deike, R.W.P.G.M., Lodge No. 691, also will be restored. In his will and through various gifts, Bro. Deike provided funds to the Grand Lodge to maintain and operate the Masonic Homes, and to provide recreational activities. He was the inspiration behind the building of the auditorium and the largest contributor to the project. Dedicated in 1958, the auditorium includes a fine organ, also his gift, appropriate in view of his love of music.

The existing ballroom also will be restored and will recognize the benevolence of the late Bro. Howard W. White, who willed considerable funds to the Masonic Homes. In his honor, that ballroom will be renamed the White Ballroom, which will feature a new sound system and new heating and air conditioning systems. The ballroom will be made all one level to eliminate steps, as residents requested.

The Recreation Building also will be expanded to include, among other suggested features, an indoor shuffle board court, and more space for recreation activities and programs.

At the main entrance to the Freemasons Cultural Center will be a porte-cochere, a covered drop-off area where people can wait for programs and be protected from inclement weather while waiting for a bus or car. Inside this area will be the main information desk for the Masonic Homes, which will be a central location for visitors to inquire about the Masonic Homes and receive directions to the various buildings on campus. There, visitors can connect with a tour guide or access the White Ballroom, Brossman Ballroom, Masonic Lodge, Museum, or Deike Auditorium. Another attraction will be a new café, offering an expansion of the services currently offered in the ice cream parlor, such as a wide variety of foods and desserts and a casual dining atmosphere for residents, employees and visitors. An acacia tree, an appropriate and meaningful attraction, will be a central focus in an atrium gathering area.