Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Zuhrah Shrine to Sell Harrington Mansion
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On November 24th, 2009, the members of Zuhrah Shrine voted to sell the stunning Harrington Mansion, the Minneapolis Shrine Center and its parking lot at 2540 Park Avenue in Minneapolis. The Shriners of Minneapolis have occupied the building since 1929, when it was purchased for $25,000. According to Zuhrah's website, this is less than half the amount of the property taxes paid on the building (date unknown). Not sure what the future holds for Zuhrah Shrine's housing options nor the options of one of its tenants, the extremely successful Minneapolis Lodge #19, but whatever happens is completely undesirable.
This is a sad day not only for the Shrine but Minnesota Masonry in general. I pray that some relief will come to our various non-profit groups, not just the Masons. I just hate seeing beautiful buildings disappear to be used by some land developer with little care for its' sacred or historical significance. This loss will be felt throughout Minnesota and I wish there was a solution to avoid these problems. Masons have built this state but sadly, we are still treated as a forgotten relic, an organization from days gone by. It's not membership, it's not dues, it's not anything but a lack of consciousness by the public at large of what we do and its willingness to let us go.
Perhaps the Fraternity is changing. Perhaps land ownership will not be a part of what makes a Lodge special or important in the community. Maybe Grandma Gilmore is right when she says "a house is just a house", but it would be a real shame if we continued to allow the loss of these buildings when they have been a part of heritage for so long. Solutions need to found to prevent the loss of these great houses dedicated to our Craft.