Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Toledo, Ohio is angry Masons 'abandoning' city

Both the local Scottish Rite and the Shrine are planning to move their offices and facilities from Toledo, Ohio, to smaller quarters in outlying townships, the Toledo Blade reported on June 14.

The mayor of Toledo is angry over this, and today, the Toledo Blade posted an editorial accusing "the Masons" of having killed live theater and culture in Toledo nearly 40 years ago by moving from downtown to a suburb, and now accuses Freemasonry of "abandoning" Toledo "by yet another decision that reaffirms a history and a pattern of resistance to the welfare of a community which has supported for so long their humanitarian efforts."

A Masonic spokesman has assured the mayor and the press that even if the Masons do leave the south Toledo Masonic Complex, the adjoining Stranahan Theater will not be affected. The theater is not under Masonic management, nor is the building owned by the Masons. The Masons own the property on which the theater and Masonic buildings sit.

(A look at the Stranahan's calendar for the rest of 2007 doesn't show a lot of culture going on. Three days of "Riverdance," a five-day run of the jukebox musical "Movin' Out," based on Billy Joel songs, and a redneck comedy tour are about all that's on slate for the rest of the year.)

The editorial presumes that Masons "owe" something to the city of Toledo. Is being concerned with whether a city has a live theater venue a legitimate obligation of Freemasons? Is it the Masons' responsibility to provide a cultural climate in a dying downtown? Or is this just a liberal newspaper pushing a "have vs. have-not" corporate welfare agenda, claiming Masonry has a civic duty it no longer wishes to perform?

Image: A performance of "Riverdance"

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  1. Wow... people everywhere are losing their common sense...

  2. Well, the mayor of Toledo seems to be one sandwich short of a picnic there. The death of an inner city is never nice. However, I am presuming that the lodge is moving out of town because that's where its members live. Owning a large piece of property and old buildings is expensive, and if the members don't want to travel into Toledo to attend Lodge then Lodge has to go where they are.

    The theatre schedule sounds too pathetic for words, too.

  3. The Mayor is correct about one thing and that is that Toledo started going belly-up 40 years ago. It's called "white flight" and Toledo is a textbook case of it. White lodge members moved to the burbsand took their lodges with them. So did all the other fraternal groups like the Elks who had exclusive white membership.
    Happened all over the country and it's still happening as the old suburbs are being replaced by the exurbs.
    Toledo has far more pressing concerns in it's city core than throwing his veiled pseudo-racist comments at the Freemasons.
    This deal had noting to do with the arts community. It had everything to do with race.

  4. It's not possible for anything to be of less consequence to the City of Toledo than for the Masons to take their powerhouse activity out of it.


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