Tenders were submitted, a contractor selected and construction started in 1922. Shortly thereafter it became apparent that the contractor could not finish the job on budget, and he absconded with all payments to date, leaving the Lodge with $3000 ($49,000 in today’s dollars) of uncompleted work and no contractor. The trustees got busy, raised the money and the finished building was dedicated on April 19th 1923. This is the building we are in today, but really only the front half. What is currently our dining room was the Lodge Room, and where the door to the current Lodge Room sits was the rear wall of the building.
Of interest the two shops on the street level, which were much smaller than today, rented for a total of $65 (today $1058). Hiram Lodge paid $25 per month rent ($407). The trustees who preceded today’s Temple Board, were thus generating about $1500 per month in rent to operate the building.
In 1947, Hiram had grown to a point where it was evident that more space was needed. Debate went on for several years as to whether to expand or build larger elsewhere. Leaving out all the machinations, eventually it was decided to expand the existing facility, resulting in the lovely building you are currently sitting in. Along the way, other lots were bought and sold, portions given to the city to widen 5th Street, sidewalks installed for free in compensation and a few other interesting tidbits if you care to read Hiram’s History Book.