BAR HARBOR — A “for sale” sign that appeared on the lawn of the Masonic Hall on High Street here last week could signal changes both for the Masons and the community groups that use the facility.
The Bar Harbor Masonic Lodge, one of four lodges of the fraternal society on Mount Desert Island, decided to list the property for sale and already has received two offers, according to Alexander Phillips, the group’s secretary and treasurer.
Each local lodge is chartered by the Grand Lodge of Maine, now headquartered in Holden. “No lodge can own real estate,” Phillips said, “so we formed the Bar Harbor Masonic Building Association, and the lodge rents the space.”
“We own the place free and clear,” Phillips said, so they’re not in a rush to sell. They haven’t made a decision about where they will meet after a sale is complete, he said.
“Eventually, we want to build one lodge on the island” for the four groups to use, he said. “That’s what we’re negotiating, but you’re dealing with a lot of egos.”
The Bar Harbor building was built around 1900 and served as the Bar Harbor High School before being acquired by the Freemasons in 1921. The quarter-acre parcel and building are valued by the town at $643,600 and listed for sale for $650,000.
The Bar Harbor lodge broke away from the Mount Desert lodge in 1891 and met in a building on School Street.
The Mount Desert lodge leases its building in Somesville to the Acadia Repertory Theatre. The Northeast Harbor lodge also has begun discussions about selling their building; they have the U.S. Postal Service as a first-floor tenant.
The Tremont lodge in the village of Southwest Harbor was founded before the towns split in 1905. They own the building where Sawyer’s Specialties operates.
Lynam Real Estate is handling the sale.