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Former Masonic Temple - Okanogan, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 48° 21.839 W 119° 34.944
11U E 308731 N 5359980
Quick Description: When built this one time Masonic Temple and movie theatre was touted as the finest of its size in the state.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 7/18/2018 11:07:54 PM
Waymark Code: WMYRVD
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member razalas
Views: 0

Long Description:
The cornerstone for the building was laid on June 10, 1922; its opening in 1923 sparking the largest social gathering to occur in Okanogan to that time. With the Masonic Lodge in the upper floor and a banquet hall in the basement, the building was, for much of its life, home to movie theatres on the ground floor. Not long after opening, the Paramount Theater opened on the ground floor, remaining here until a projection room fire led to its closure in 1934. Two years later a second theatre, The Avalon, opened in its place, remaining in the building until 1957.

For two decades the building was little used, becoming a pizza joint in 1978. Since that time the building has changed hands several times, today appearing quite empty.

The Masonic Lodge offers no information on when the Masons left the building, only that Okanogan Lodge No. 169 now meets at 234 Tyee Street, about three blocks southwest of this building.

A plaque, placed by the Okanogan Chamber of Commerce and the City of Okanogan Planning Commission, aided by the Okanogan Historical Society, has been placed on the front of the building. Text of the plaque follows

1922 - Masonic Temple

With the laying of the cornerstone in an elaborate ceremony on June 10, 1922, Okanogan's Masons began the process of constructing what was called the finest Masonic temple for its size in the state. When completed, its opening in 1923 was celebrated with the largest social gathering ever held in Okanogan up to that time. A special Pullman car was attached to the train just to bring the invited guests up from Wenatchee.

The lodge itself was headquartered on the top floor of the building, with a large auditorium on the main floor and a banquet hall in the basement. Within several months of its opening, the main auditorium was leased to C.P. Scates as a location for his Paramount Theater. Scates installed a projection room and an orchestra pit for showing movies. The screen was made movable so that local talent shows and other forms of entertainment could also use the stage.

A fire in the projection room in 1934 damaged the theater and resulted in closure of the Paramount. The building was purchased in 1936 by Gillespie and Ulsh and reopened later that year as the Avalon Theater, the name by which it is best known to anyone who grew up in the Okanogan area through the 1940's and 1950's.

The theater closed for the last time in 1957, and after a period of limited use, the building took on a new life as the Pizza Place when the building was purchased in 1978 by Dennis Morris. The building has changed hands several times since 1978 but still serves the community as a restaurant and place for entertainment.

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Other: Not listed

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