|- The Price Hill Masonic Lodge's main stage. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
|- The Masonic Lodge at the corner of Price and Purcell Ave. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
Cameron and I had the opportunity last summer to see inside the Masonic Lodge thanks to Pamela Taylor of Price Hill Will. The building's windows have been bricked over, it's windows boarded up and for years the interior has been left to wither away.
|- The main auditorium. Photograph by: Cameron Knight|
Once inside, after your eyes adjust to the darkness, it's clear just how grand this building is. Built in 1911, the building served as a Masonic Lodge for 77 years. For nearly a quarter of a century, the building deteriorated until it was stabilized and listed as a local landmark in 2011. When these photographs were made in 2014, local community organization Price Hill Will had signed an agreement to purchase the building. As of this writing, Price Hill Will currently owns the building and is following a plan for its revitalization.
|- Bar in the main auditorium. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
Samuel Hannaford had partnered with his boys, Harvey and Charles to form Samuel Hannaford and Sons. Their company was responsible for creating buildings all across the Queen City. Their legacy includes some of the city's most iconic structures. From City Hall to the Eden Park Park Water Tower to the Times-Star building and even Music Hall - Hannaford and Sons had their stamp on much of the city's building stock. The Price Hill Masonic Lodge was no exception, another symbol of the firm's craftsmanship and attention to detail and one of four Masonic lodges they designed in Cincinnati.
Samuel Hannaford and Sons ceased to exist in the early 1960's.
|- Rubble and peeling paint on the floor of the main auditorium. Photograph by: Cameron Knight|
The Masons left the Price Hill lodge to merge with the North Bend chapter in 1989. The chapter now operates out of a less architecturally significant building in nearby Cleves. In the years between the Masons and Price Hill Will, things had deteriorated rapidly.
|- The collapsed staircase. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
The main staircase has completely collapsed, paint peels on nearly every wall and broken windows have allowed the weather to make its way in.
|- Office and hallway in the back. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
|- Light fixture. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
Floorboards and tile have warped, but in some areas the small details still shine through. Scattered about, there's quite a few remnants of the previous Masonic tenants.
|- Warping tile and rear staircase. Photograph by: Cameron Knight|
|- Rubble amongst the carpet. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
|- Nursery. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
|- Nursery Wallpaper. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
|- Upstairs room. Photograph by: Cameron Knight.|
On the second floor, there's another auditorium that's sitting directly above the main one.
|- Upper auditorium. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
The roof of the auditorium still features the Masonic symbol in it's stained glass as well as the pipes of a since removed organ.
|- Stained glass above the auditorium. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
|- Organ pipes. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
|- Hallway outside the upper auditorium. Photograph by: Cameron Knight|
In one room, old clothes still hang in a closet.
|- Closet. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
In another, an empty safe left behind by the Masons sits against the wall.
|- Safe left behind by the Freemasons. Photograph by: Cameron Knight|
The basement is filled with all kinds of things: tools, chairs, fire extinguishers (vintage and new), clothes, boxes and even old Freemason signs amongst the rubble.
|- The basement. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
|- Main auditorium. Photograph by: Cameron Knight, black and white film shot on a Fuji GW690ii|
While touring the upper floors we heard voices coming from the main hall. Downstairs we found members of the Cincinnati Fire Department who noticed that the building's front door was open. They stopped by to check in.
|- A visit from the CFD. Pamela Taylor of Price Hill Will at the center. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
Price Hill Will's goal is to breathe new life into the building. The local non-profit has been active in community, social and revitalization efforts of the city's East, West and Lower Price Hill neighborhoods. The ultimate plan is to turn the space into their new offices as well as a venue for receptions, meetings, weddings, theatre and art events.
|- Outside building details. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
|- Ivy growing on the building. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
|- Building detail showing the symbol of the Freemasons. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
|- Front of the building and main entrance. Photograph by: Ronny Salerno|
|- Rendering showing a revitalized building. Image provided by Price Hill Will.|