Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tarboro, North Carolina $169,900

Tarboro, North Carolina $169,900

Bedrooms: 2
Approximate square footage: 7800
Contact: Mary Ann Cumpata
Tarboro Realty

Masonic Lodge Building
301 North Main Street

The owner of this striking Classical Revival commercial building in downtown Tarboro is motivated to sell and will consider all reasonable offers.

The former Concord Masonic Lodge Building is the most exuberant and monumental Classical Revival commercial building in Downtown Tarboro. Designed by noted New Bern architect, Herbert Woodley Simpson, and completed in 1908, it has been said that the building sits on the site of the tavern where George Washington stayed during his 1791 visit to Tarboro. A bronze plaque placed on the building in 1925 by the DAR commemorates this historic visit. This building was constructed during a boom period of new industrial and commercial wealth in Tarboro, just before and after the turn of the 20th century.

At three high stories, this was Tarboro’s tallest building for many years. Its exterior design is striking and imposing, with an interplay of deep red brick and granite, and brick quoins on each corner. The first floor has its original front and side façade masonry details, which consist of square, engaged columns of alternating rows of brick and granite, with a massive granite entablature above the first floor storefront, extending around and above the corner window on the east side. Large granite capitals sit atop the engaged columns and feature unusual, projecting concentric granite circles. The entire first floor side façade is made of horizontal bands of raised bricks with rows of inset bricks.

The second and third stories contain symmetrical and aligned double windows with large granite lintels and sills. The third floor windows are topped with expansive granite arches and keystones. At one time, the area within these arches and above the double windows (now in-filled with wood) contained magnificent, opaque blue stained glass panels, each containing unique Masonic symbols. All have been destroyed or removed over the years. A top-rate restoration should definitely consider replacing these spaces with similar stained glass panels, obviously designed to be one of the most significant architectural features of this wonderful building. At the top of the building is an elaborate and tall parapet wall with alternating expanses of brick with accents of granite blocks and caps. Underneath the parapet is a large modillion cornice, still in excellent condition.

The interiors of the second and third floors are relatively intact. A rear staircase, rising three levels, enters into hallways containing tall tongue-in-groove wainscoting and molded chair rails. On the second level, there is a large curved wall leading into the hallway. Currently, there are seven (7) offices, each with a set of the double windows and outstanding lighting. Some interior walls have been removed so that larger office spaces were at one time created. All of the hallways office doors have two horizontal bottom panels, with glass panels above, and large transom windows over each door. The floors are the original oak which will need refinishing. Ceiling heights are around 12 feet.

The third floor was the home of the Masonic Concord Lodge #58. The staircase to the third floor is quite elaborate with paneled newel posts and large wood cannonball finials. Upon reaching the small hallway at the top of the stairs, there is a massive plaster archway leading to a large lobby area. This lobby area has been divided into separate kitchen and bathroom spaces that could be removed. Between this lobby area and the Grand Lodge Room is a smaller ante-room, divided by a most unusual and very wide wood pocket door that slides vertically up into the wall above. Other doors on this floor consist of five horizontal panels, with ceilings appearing to be between 14 and 16 feet.

The Lodge Room is a magnificent and huge space, with a small stage at one end. There are, unfortunately, several partial walls that have been erected that should be removed so that the grandness of the room can be appreciated. Large period and likely original electric ceiling fixtures are found throughout the entire third floor, with the Lodge Room containing a pair of very large six (6) globe fixtures with ornate arms. The oak floors are wider than the ones on the lower floors. The entire room is completely surrounding at the top of the walls with a wide, intact molded and concave plaster and wood cornice. There are also very wide and ornately molded baseboards throughout the room.

The Former Concord Masonic Lodge building is within the Tarboro National Register Historic District. As a contributing structure in a National Register Historic District, costs for appropriately renovating such a commercial or income-producing structure may qualify for a 20% North Carolina income tax credit and a 20% Federal income tax credit, totaling 40% of renovation costs.

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