On October 25, 1912 rent for use of the building for meetings was raised to $125.00 per year! On December 3, 1912 the Lodge voted to put the 4th Street property up for sale for an asking price of $10,000.00. Apparently there were no takers. On February 3, 1914 plans had been drawn and were examined but no action was taken. On March 2, 1915 the Lodge empowered the Trustees to negotiate a loan on the 4th Street property for building the new temple.
Ground Breaks on the Lot For Our Own Masonic Temple
On October 19, 1915 the Lodge voted to sell Life Memberships for $100.00. Those Life Memberships were almost our downfall -later in 1930. On November 4, 1915 the Lodge was formed in regular procession to the lot on the Northeast Corner of 4th Street and 2nd Avenue South where the ground was broken for the first time for the new Masonic Temple by W. M. W. W. Birch£ ield, then Worshipful Master of St. Petersburg Lodge #139, who turned the first shovel of sand. The first meeting of St. Petersburg Lodge #139 in our own Temple was held on March 28, 1916.
1916: March 28th the first meeting in our own Temple was held.
The Beginnings of the Masonic Home & Orphanage
March 3rd, 1914 St. Petersburg Lodge contributed $100.00 to the Masonic Home & Orphanage Fund. The idea for a Masonic Home & Orphanage was first brought to the attention of Grand Lodge by Bro. A.W. Gilcrest in 1902. Bro. Gilcrest later became Grand Master of Masons in Florida. March 17th the West Coast Company (a land or real estate company of those days) offered to donate 100 acres of land to us and through us to the Grand Lodge of Masons of Florida for a Masonic Home & Orphanage location.
July 3rd, 1917 correspondence from the Grand Master stated that the Committee on Selection of a site for the Masonic Home & Orphanage had selected St. Petersburg for the future Home. The selection of St. Petersburg for the Home was due largely to the untiring efforts of Bro. Ed. T. Lewis, Mr. A.P. Avery, Mr. Lew B. Brown, Walter P. Fuller and H. Walter Fuller, acting for St. Petersburg through St. Petersburg Lodge #139. At this time a motion prevailed that each member of this Lodge be assessed $500.00 to assist the Gra~d Lodge Committee with the Masonic Home site.