NORTHWOOD — Members of the Masonic Lodge in Northwood are asking for the public’s help as they collect photos and other mementos of the historic building that burned to the ground in a four-alarm fire on Saturday night.
NORTHWOOD — A four-alarm fire destroyed the town’s historic Masonic Lodge on Saturday night.
Northwood firefighters and police officers were called to the three-story building at the intersection of Routes 4 and 202 about 9:24 p.m. When they arrived, the building was in flames.
On Monday, Masons gathered at the sight to take pictures and to see if anything could be salvaged. Town historian Joann Bailey and the secretary of the local historical society, Sandy Priolo, were there as well.
Bailey and Priolo were saddened to see the building gone.
“It’s pretty terrible. You feel like a member of the family is gone,” Bailey said.
With the loss of the lodge comes a devastating loss of Civil War history. Priolo said the third floor housed the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization that was for veterans of the Civil War, and said that after the last member died, the room was left untouched.
“It was left just like they left it,” Priolo said. “There were beautiful murals on the wall.”
Dennis Tuttle Jr. and his family members have been Masons in Northwood for generations. His son, Anthony, is the lodge’s current Worshipful Master.
Tuttle said the Masonic Lodge will be remembered as a community gathering spot for concerts and presentations for children. The Masons hosted ham and bean suppers, blood drives and craft fairs. A local theater group used to rent a space from them.
“This is a very active place, and active part of the community,” Tuttle said.
Tuttle said the building had a stage with a curtain on it that was installed in the 1920s and displayed logos for local businesses, including Northwood Garage.
Tuttle said Masons started building the structure in 1879 with the lumber cut from their properties. The lodge was completed in 1885.
The first floor had a library and kitchen area. The second floor is where the Masons and Eastern Stars met.
An investigation into what started the fire is being conducted by the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal’s Office, Northwood Fire Department and Northwood Police Department.
“We’re just going along, trying to figure out where it happened, how it happened, why it happened. We’ll probably never know some of that,” Tuttle said.
“We’re trying to get the insurance company involved, find out what our next steps are going to be and try to come back out of this with a renewed sense of purpose.”
Tuttle said that in the meantime, he is building a collection of photos and memories to share publicly with the community to help preserve the history of the Masonic Lodge.
The email address for submissions is email@example.com.