Out of the Past: Hamburg Masonic Lodge

       By Steve Cichon

It still stands at Union and Buffalo Streets, but the old Masonic Lodge is a bit more claustrophobic amid the buildings of Elderwood’s Assisted Living at Hamburg facility.

The Masonic Lodge still stands, but surrounded by the substantial brick wings which were added in the 1990s.

The cornerstone for the building was laid in 1926, part of realizing “a dream cherished for decades” by the Masons of Fraternal Lodge No. 625, first established in 1867.

There were 650 Masons in the lodge in the 1970s, but as membership dwindled, the lodge was sold to Elderwood Affiliates in 1996.

As Elderwood expanded the grounds from 14,000-square-feet to 62,000-square-feet in 1998 to help make room for 76 residential assisted living apartments, a time capsule was discovered dating back to the original cornerstone laying.

The paper items inside the rough-hewn copper box were brittle, but among the details that could be read from the 1926 newspaper: Coal was $14 a ton, an overnight cruise from Buffalo to Cleveland was $5.50 and a new car was $995.

Fourth-graders at Union Pleasant Avenue School planned and collected items for the replacement time capsule, which included late ’90s treasures like a Beanie Baby, Gameboy video game, a TV Guide discussing the last episode of Seinfeld, and a bag of microwave popcorn.

Published by


Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.