Monday, April 30, 2007

An Appraisal Adventure

Water Valley, MS> At stated before in this blog, Deer Camp Blog, every now and then I get to do an appraisal that is very interesting. I recently finished the appraisal on this building known as the Wagner or Parker building to everyone in Water Valley.
I started the appraisal, moved to the second floor and soon stopped appraising and began exploring. I found something strange and very interesting to do with the mysterious Order of the Freemasons. I left and returned the next day to investigate further.

Denise, Erin and I met the new owner, Old Scratch and a local Mason (Curtis Rogers).
We entered the rear of the old building. The lower section has been used for different stores over the years, but the second floor has been mostly abandoned for the last 50 years. We located a narrow rear staircase and headed upstairs.
Reaching the second floor, that had at one time been cut into different offices, we looked at the height of the walls and marveled over the architecture around the giant capstone windows. We looked through the upstairs and then I led them to a hidden alcove with a ladder going to the attic. Ascending this ladder, you reached an old attic and you could easily see that a false ceiling had been installed years ago.

What I never knew was that there was an office up here in the very front of the building. Scattered around were old letters and legal summons from 1910 and earlier.
A judge and a lawyer had used the office at one time. There were metal suitcases form the 50's for clothes, magazines and other letters from the 40's and assorted bric-a-brac that I would love to carefully go through. Moving to a plaster wall here, I shone my light through a hole in the wall to show my friends what had been covered up for the last 80 or so years when the false ceiling was not there. This had been the Grand Hall of the Masonic Temple of Water Valley.
Inside, the walls were covered with ancient cheese cloth wall paper with the famous logo of the Masons. My Masonic friend was very impressed and we tried to figure a way to get a part of this to frame and donate to the local Masonic Lodge. I took a bunch of pictures. We haven't figured how to get it off the wall but think that the Historical Society or the National Masonic order will help. Here are a couple of the pics.

Very interesting indeed!

I thought about this and remembered something I had seen a long time ago and then I remembered an old picture I had seen of Water Valley around 1900. I remembered the Masonic Temple sign on the front of the building! A little digging and I located the picture. the building is to the left and you need to click on it to enlarge it if you want to see the symbol.

After our adventure, Denise, Erin and I retired to Turnage Drug store to enjoy a homemade chocolate milkshake. The only place that you can still get a real one. It cooled us off and our adventure was over for now.


Marian said...

In the old Water Valley pic, I noticed a 3-story old home in the background next to a "stack" that house still there today? Enjoyed reading about your exploration of the old Masonic Bldg. Interesting!

AB5SY said...

Enjoyed your adventure. I could almost smell to musky orders as I peered over you shoulder at every new discovery. I love browsing through old buildings.

Cliff said...

What a cool adventure. My brother is a member of the Masons, so I have developed a fascination with their history. Such a find would be fun to explore.

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Keith Johnson said...

Definitely looks like a historic adventure. I need to take my Used RV out here.