I am keenly aware of the state of repair or disrepair of many of the landmarks in the Philly region. This is the first of a series of articles about that topic.Read on to learn about the preservation issue; Masonic cemeteries Lodge lots.
Disclaimer; I am on the board of directors of the Friends of Mount Moriah, Inc., FOMMC, and have an interest in its own preservation issues. I chose to write about the preservation issue of Masonic cemeteries and Lodge lots because they are the largest fraternal organization with lots and burials there. This is my own opinion and may not necessarily reflect the opinion of the board.
The Masonic lots in Mount Moriah cemetery are in obvious disrepair as is much of the massive cemetery that spans two counties, Philadelphia and Delaware, PA. Abandoned in 2011 its maintenance is now performed by hundreds of volunteers with donated tools and funds for fuel, food, and porta potties. The FOMMC have reached out to Masonic sources since 2011 but have not had any responses other than individual Masons joining the volunteers on preservation days of service. I reached out to a source high in a Masonic state level of organization, who asked for anonymity, who said “It’s not just Mount Moriah, it’s going on everywhere. We at this time are focusing on wholly owned Masonic cemeteries with what money and other resources we have.” My research confirmed his statement.
Freemasonry is arguably the world's largest, oldest and best-known gentleman's fraternity. It is said to be based on the medieval stonemason guilds who built the great castles and cathedrals of Europe and having a role in the founding of the United States and the building of Washington D.C. They have also established many Masonic cemeteries and Lodge lots in the United States and around the world. Some like many other landmarks have fallen into disrepair. The reasons are founding lodges that are no longer able to maintain them, or the corporations that once ran them that have no current officers, or have they run out of funds for perpetual care.
This story is a tragedy, and not the first and sadly not the last because the economic situation of the United States. Money is tight everywhere in these tough economic times. The preservation of historic landmarks is taking a back seat to other issues facing Philadelphian’s and the nation. To the Masons out there I ask,” Oh lord, my God, is there no hope for a widow's son?