New Roof Installation
King Solomon's Lodge #1
Exterior work has started on the roof and cupola
Work has begun on restoring King Solomon's Lodge #1.
The initial phase of the project will deal with exterior stabilization and restoration. This includes roof repair, siding repair, reconstruction of window frames and sashes, and removal of the cinder block sheathing around the brick foundation. The immediate primary task is to repair the cupola on top of the building, which is currently leaking when it rains.
As you can see from the photo above, the tin roof has been peeled off, revealing holes in the shake under-roof. The building originally had a standing seam metal roof, which will be restored after the 20th century shake roof is removed.
As partners, leadership of King Solomon’s Lodge #1 and the New Bern Preservation Foundation have launched a project to restore the lodge meeting place originally known as Drayton’s Hall. The Foundation is working with Lodge members to apply for grants and raise funds for a restoration of this important historic building.
A fire in 2005 caused extensive smoke and water damage to the structure. The structure was not flooded during Hurricane Florence, but the storm certainly highlighted the urgent need to do external repairs to keep out wind and rain.
Formed in 1865, King Solomon’s Lodge is the first African-American Masonic lodge in North Carolina and one of the first south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The current building, originally known as Drayton’s Hall, was completed in 1870. It has been continuously used as a Masonic lodge and meeting hall since it was built, and it is one of the very few structures north of Queen Street to survive the great fire of 1922. Frederick Smith, Worshipful Master of King Solomon Lodge, has kept everyone focused on the significance of this effort.
“King Solomon #1 is an icon of the history of the Colonial Capital of North Carolina,” said Smith. “The sole purpose of this important structure is to house the membership of a Master Mason Lodge, a Chapter of The Eastern Star as well as their young men, The Kop and the young ladies, the Gleaners. The vision of making good men and women better as well as cultivating young minds for the future is of the utmost importance.” The New Bern Preservation Foundation is providing its experience in preservation to support this initiative.
“This is a vitally important historic structure not only to New Bern but to the entire state. Its architecture is important along with its historic and cultural significance.” said Tim Thompson, current President of the New Bern Preservation Foundation. “This is one of the few buildings in New Bern that we know was built by African American craftsmen and used by the African American community leaders who became state legislators and U. S. Congressmen.”
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