Monday, April 7, 2014

Timing Is Everything - or - The final payment on the building that burned....

In my digging around in the Lodge Safe, this funny little receipt kept falling out and I kept putting it back in the little shelf it seemingly had sat on since 1889.  Then one day I looked carefully at it - and decided to frame it.

Probably the first time I saw it I thought - "how cool - 1889!"  "I wonder why they kept it, or even if it was kept on purpose."

Then I looked carefully at the date.  And by now I knew a lot more about the history of Ellensburg #39.  By the way, it says 'Ellensburgh' with an H and 'W.T.' as in Washington Territory.

It is a receipt from the Masonic Building Committee for the Balance due on  Masonic Temple Construction, $1,169.

It was signed by a Mr. Geddis as Bondsman for (something i can't make out.)  Geddis was an important builder in town and we still have a section called the Geddis Block.
By the way, $1,169 in 1889 would be approximately $30,000 today, adjusted for inflation.  And this payment represented the balance due, the final payment.

The significance of the date is that June 26th, 1889 was eight days before the July 4th, 1889 fire that leveled the town of Ellensburg, and the newly paid for Temple!
And from the other pieces of information that we have, no fire insurance was in force.  A brother was assigned the task to obtain two policies - this is in the minutes, but no money ever showed up.

I guess the lodge had to bear it.

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