I was delighted when Brian invited me to the Grand Lodge for the buildings 90th birthday party. I’d never been to the Grand Lodge and couldn’t wait to see what it was like in comparison to the many other McMenamins establishments I’ve been to. I was not disappointed! What a wonderful place it is. It reminded me of a miniature version of the Edgefield in Troutdale.
The celebration was in full swing and the place was all a buzz when we arrived. Several different bands were scheduled to play throughout the day into the evening. How exciting! There were shows for kids and beer and wine tasting for grownups. We managed to catch a really fun and entertaining band called The Underscore Orkestra, not misspelled just quirky. They were very unique and reminded me of what Gypsy music might sound like. There was a great belly dancer that was part of the group and I was surprised when she finished dancing, she sat down and played some type of string instrument. She was a very talented young woman. It was a great time. Now, for a little history on this really fun McMenamins location.
From about 1917 through 1927 plans and then building were going on for a [amazon_link id=”B003ZTP14S” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Masonic [/amazon_link]and [amazon_link id=”B002RAO46M” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Eastern Star Home[/amazon_link] for the state of Oregon. This was for the aged and infirm, and the poor and distressed worthy Master Masons, their widows, and orphans. On January 1st 1922 the main lodge’s central area and east wing are completed. Brother Henry Mounts, the first resident, moved in on February 24th. The smaller cottage called the “Children’s Cottage,” was completed in November 1926. The capacity for the cottage is 32 children. It was intended to house orphans of Masons. Between 1927 and 1928 it was determined that the orphanage should be closed. The problem being the relations (or lack of) between the elderly and the children. They were less than harmonious so the children were relocated to outside families.
The lodge had many ups and downs over the years. The 1962 [amazon_link id=”B000NWZT7E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Columbus Day Storm[/amazon_link] caused considerable damage. Most of the cottage roof was torn off. The dormer roof over the main lodge was damaged and twenty trees were uprooted.
Between 1988 and 1989 the Masons built the Jennings-McCall Center. A 72-unit elder care apartment complex just north of the Masonic Home. In 1999 the Masons built Jennings-McCall II and a new Grand Lodge office and meeting facility, with the intent of moving out of the original Masonic Home and Children’s Cottage. At this point the McMenamin Brother’s agreed to become the new “custodian” of this great old property. Renovation began in the fall of 1999. On March 1, 2000, the property opened as McMenamins Grand Lodge.
The Grand Lodge is located at 3505 Pacific Avenue in Forest Grove, Oregon. The lodge offers 4 restaurants and bars, Ironwork Grill, Bob’s Bar, Doctor’s Office Bar, and Pat’s Corner. The lodge offers movies and music and they also have special events. There is a wonderful spa called Ruby’s Spa which offers massage, body treatments, foot care, and more. There is also a nice outdoor soaking pool and a great little gift shop for finding just the right spa essentials. The front desk also has a gift shop with clothing, glass wear, coffee and many other wonderful items. The lodge also has space for weddings, meetings, and private events.
The Grand Lodge is definitely grand. Like most of the McMenamins establishments, there is so much to see and do. The art work is fantastic, down to the tiniest detail on hand painted exposed pipes throughout the building. Much of it is whimsical and fun in the true McMenamins style their artists are famous for. I highly recommend The Grand Lodge.
Words by Glenda, Pictures by Brian.
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