Planning the Corning Masonic Temple
It was in 1907 that members of the Scottish Rite began studying the matter of building a Masonic Temple in Corning. Ill. Hugh Kendall was elected a representative from Corning Consistory to meet with a trustee from Painted Post Lodge #117 and a representative from Corning Chapter 190, RAM to plan a corporation. This group purchased the “Jones lot” at Erie Ave. and Walnut St. for $8,000. Later it was determined that the property did not meet the requirements of a Masonic Temple.
On June 24, 1910 the “Walker Property” on the other side of the tracks was purchased. It is on that site that the Masonic Cathedral now stands. The original property was sold a few years later, with the committee recovering all that had been paid for it.
Reunion Banquets were held in various places during this period before the Cathedral was erected. One was held at the Dickenson House. The menu consisted of Little Necks on the Halfshell, relishes, salted almonds, Cream of Tomato soup, Broiled Whitefish, Saratoga Chips, Chicken Croquettes, aux French Peas, Pineapple Ice, Mignon Filets, Creamed Potatoes and Asparagus, Champagne Punch, Lobster Salad, Wafers, Vanilla Ice Cream, assorted cakes, Lady Fingers, Edam Cheese, Banquet Wafers, Coffee, cigars and cigarettes.
The Brothers enjoyed eating!
The Toast List: “Our Inspiration,” by Warren J Cheney; “our Fraternity,” by the Rev. A. W. Ebersole, “Our Temple Foundations,” by the Rev. J. C. Ball; Our Affiliations,” by the Rev. John Knox;, Our Visitors,” by “one of them”; and “out Class,” by one of the members.
On May 9, 1918 some 300 members and visiting Brothers walked to the City Hall where the Eastern Star Chapter put on the dinner. It was here that Ill. Bro Frank B Hower, 33⁰ of Buffalo, who had become an honorary member of the Corning Consistory, proposed giving $40,000 to the Valley of Corning to assist in starting a move toward the construction of a Cathedral.
It was this offer, together with funds already held by the Masonic Temple Association, that sparked immediate action. Subsequently it was decided to erect a Scottish Rite Cathedral with provisions for housing all departments of the Masonic Brotherhood.