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The proposed Masonic Temple that
was to be built in Niles.
History of Ida McKinley
Order of Eastern Star
1906 ~ 2007
The Masonic Temple was constructed
in 1922. On June 24, 1867, sixteen Masons read a dispensation empowering
them to organize Mahoning Lodge. On October 28, 1867, Mahoning Lodge
No. 394 was constituted and consecrated.
The first lodge room was in the H.H.
Mason Building, on the corner of Main and State Streets, later in
the Benedict Block on Main Street, the Wagstaff Block on Main Street
and the Reeves-Leitch Block on East State before moving into the
present Temple on July 30, 1922.
On January 24, 1906 , thirty five
people met at the Mahoning Lodge #394 Free and Accepted Masons to
take action in the matter of organizing a Chapter of the Order of
Eastern Star. A petition asking for a dispensation to institute
a Chapter was sent to Grand Patron, J. M. Longnecker, signed
by the thirty five people present.
This petition being granted on January
29, 1906, the group met again on February 12, 1906 at which time
the name of Ida McKinley was chosen because the meeting
hall was located where William McKinley’s birthplace had stood
and the dispensation was granted on his birthday.
President McKinley died on September
14, 1901 and Mrs. McKinley passed away in 1907. There is no record
of her having belonged to Eastern Star.
The Masonic Temple as it appeared
in the 1930s. PO1.227
February 16, 1906 Ida McKinley Chapter #229 was instituted by Morning
Light Chapter #80 of Warren. Margaretta Thomas Chingan was a charter
member and she served as Worthy Matron in 1910 and in 1911. It was
interesting to note that $6.oo was paid for the special street car
which brought the Warren Chapter to Niles for the occasion. At the
first inspection held on October 5, 1906 a supper was served at
$.35 a plate. Electricity was installed in the meeting hall in May
On March 11, 1922 Ida McKinley Chapter
instituted Sunrise Chapter #458 in Girard. Mable McCaughtry
was Worthy Matron and her Chapter dress is now in the collection
of items at the Ward Thomas Museum.
Ida McKinley Chapter met at the Mahoning
Lodge until July 20, 1923 when members met in the new Masonic Temple
located at 22 West Church Street. Many years of preparation made
this building possible, due to a special building fund. Eastern
Star furnished the kitchen, ladies parlor, and dressing room and
helped to pay for the furniture in the Lodge Room.
The Masonic Temple as it appeared
in the 1976. PO1.395
The Chapter served its first Mahoning Valley
McKinley Club Banquet in 1947. This was a huge undertaking because
there are no kitchen facilities at the McKinley Memorial Auditorium
where the annual dinner was held. The food was prepared in the
Temple kitchen and transported to the Memorial by truck where
servers managed to get hot meals to the many dignitaries and guests
to enjoy. This tradition continued until the members were no longer
able to undertake this task. Local caterers serve the banquet
Profits from serving the McKinley Banquet helped to finance installation
of the elevator in 1947, chairs for the dining room in 1965 and
tables in 1967. The Chapter gave $100.00 to the building fund
of the McKinley Memorial, dedicated October 5, 1917 and has given
to the Red Cross and various Community Funds over the years.
The 100th Birthday celebration was held on February 17, 2006 with
a dinner served before the stated meeting. After the closing of
the Chapter, the officers presented the beautiful Floral Degree
which was brought from Michigan to Niles by Clara Lowendorf,
who served as Worthy Matron in 1914 and 1915. Birthday cake was
then enjoyed in Fellowship Hall.
The front entrance to the Masonic
to declining membership and inability to elect line officers, members
voted on December 15, 2006 to merge with Opal Chapter #181 in Cortland.
The final meeting of Ida McKinley Chapter was held at the Temple
in Niles on March 16, 2007.
Opal Chapter welcomed Ida McKinley Chapter at a special merger ceremony
held at the Cortland Masonic Lodge on March 27, 2007.
The ceremony of the Eastern Star.
To give credit where credit is due, I have summarized
Chapter history, compiled by Pauline Crofford, Worthy Matron
1935 and Helen Crofford, Worthy Matron 1968 and
1974. I added the final chapter.
Nancy Malone, Worthy Matron 1973
A montage of interior rooms in the
Niles Masonic temple used by the Masons, Eastern Star, York &
Scottish Rite Masons and home of Mahoning Lodge No. 352.
Photo taken November 10, 1954 of
the Kiwanis Club
of Niles outside the Masonic Temple. PO1.1622
A group of men in front of the Niles
Masonic Lodge with large boxes. It is safe to assume that these
men are Masons and the boxes may have something to do with food
relief, indicating the depression era. No names or dates are available,
Dedication of the Masonic Temple.
The Masonic Temple was constructed in 1922, and dedicated on July
30, 1922. PO1.392
Niles Masonic Temple located on Church Street,
looking north across the Memorial lawn. Dated 1989.