Prince Hall Masonic Lodge

68 Pennsylvania Avenue
Harde & Short

With much fanfare, a procession marched on July 29, 1906, from Liberty Avenue to 68 Pennsylvania Avenue, where the cornerstone was laid to begin construction of the Tyrian Masonic Lodge. The Tyrian Masons trace their history back to the ancient Biblical city of Tyre, but this particular lodge, number 618, was founded in 1867. The organization had previously been headquartered in a building on Atlantic Avenue and then in Happ’s Hall at Liberty and Wyona Avenues before constructing this larger building. Pennsylvania Avenue runs through East New York and the adjoining neighborhood of Cypress Hills, and was once a premier avenue, making it a desirable location for the new headquarters. The organization’s membership consisted of upper middle class men, but the building was also home to the Tyrian Ladies Auxiliary, a charitable group. In 1971, the property was acquired by the Prince Hall Masons, an African-American Masonic body, so named in honor of an African-American abolitionist recognized for his leadership in the free black community. Although a community center primarily operates here today, it has been reported that the free masons still utilize the space.