TP_0822_TulsaTimeWarp_MasonicTemple_Aug22 copy.jpg

Early image of Masonic Temple at 710 S. Boston Ave., now known as the Bernsen Community Life Center

In November 1920, a groundbreaking for a magnificent Masonic temple unlike Tulsans had seen before was held on the southwest corner of East Seventh Street and South Boston Avenue.

Construction wouldn’t officially be underway until the summer of 1922. The building’s development plans were controlled by five leading Masonic bodies in Tulsa, who created the Tulsa Masonic Building Association. 

Upon completion of the building in 1923, a total of 17 Masonic organizations would claim the temple as their home lodge. 

The five-story brick building held spacious lodge rooms for members, a rooftop garden accessible from the third floor and a 900-seat auditorium with a motion picture projector and stage, among other amenities.

The building’s storefronts, leased by the Masons, contained clothing stores, pharmacies, restaurants and more. Eventually they began leasing out space inside the building, too. 

Oklahoma Masonic lodges reached peak membership in 1958 but began to decline over the following decades. Many lodges merged and relocated to more adequately sized locations.

In 1995 the Masons eventually sold the building to First Presbyterian Church located across the street. It was reopened by the church in 1998 and renamed the Bernsen Community Life Center.

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