City of Annapolis
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Annapolis, Maryland 21401
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Universal Lodge Preservation Project Kickoff
Set for 11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7
Annapolis, MD (October 1, 2021) – Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley will kickoff a preservation project at Universal Lodge at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7. The public is invited to attend. The preservation project is a $225,000 joint restoration effort between Universal Lodge #14, the City of Annapolis and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
“The City of Annapolis is working in partnership with Universal Lodge #14 in helping to revitalize this important and historic site. This is part of a series of capital projects coming up in this ward,” said Mayor Buckley.
Universal Lodge is a single story gable-front frame and concrete-block building located at 64 Clay Street. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Around 1865, a group of African-American civilian employees of the United States Naval Academy founded an Annapolis chapter of Prince Hall Masonic fraternity. Prince Hall Masons are a branch of North American Freemasonry for African Americans founded by Prince Hall in the late 1700s. Prince Hall Freemasonry is the oldest and largest predominantly African-American fraternal organization in the United States.
The lodge building got its start as a private dwelling built around 1880. In the 1940s, the Prince Hall Masons acquired the building and substantially renovated and expanded it for use as a meeting hall and headquarters. The building is important to the City’s history because the lodge and its members contributed in a significant manner to the fabric of the Clay Street community, especially in the 1960s. The last major renovation of the building was completed in 1956.
Prominent members of the lodge have included Wiley H. Bates, Dr. Aris T. Allen, former Mayor of Annapolis John Chambers and the late educator Walter S. Mills.
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