Clayton Conversations: Fort Smith Masonic Temple: A Grand Birth and RebirthApril 23, 2017
Enjoy a unique peak into Fort Smith history with a presentation on the restoration of one of Arkansas’ few Egyptian Revival structures: the Fort Smith Masonic Temple, now named Temple Live. Speaking in the home of the 1884 Grand Master Mason of Arkansas, Wm. H. H. Clayton, Fort Smith native Lawrence Beaty will peel back the temple’s layers of time to reveal its 1929 opening as a center of Masonic activities in western Arkansas. Located at North 11 and B streets, the 53,000-square-foot stone structure, flanked by Egyptian sphinxes, was designed by the architect of the Arkansas State Capitol and Arlington Hotel (George Mann, 1856 – 1939). Beaty will share a view of its construction and of the impact of the members of the Masonic Order on the area. In addition to an overview of activities in the temple, which included a movie-theatre era through the 1970s, Beaty will share about the immense compilation of Fort Smith history beheld in hundreds of documents and other artifacts inside the temple. Beaty and his brother, Lance, who is president of Beaty Capital Group and FSM Redevelopment Partners, plan to care for and share the documents that reveal Fort Smith ongoings from the 1920s on. Discussing the variety of artifacts and records found, Beaty says, “Our challenges include the fact that, in the early period, the Masonic Order was relatively secret, so people’s membership was not publicly shared. Masonry has become much more open today, but we will want to show good stewardship in what we reveal of this history. Truly, though, almost anybody who’s anybody passed through these doors.” Beaty, who has been helping his brother with the restoration, is retiring after a 35-year career in the energy industry. The Southside High School graduate served in the United States Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program, managed power plant projects for General Electric around the world, and for the past 14 years has taught electronics and control systems at Idaho State University. He serves as a National Science Foundation Principal Investigator and as Executive Director and Chair of the University’s Energy Systems Technology and Education Center. In 2014, Beaty received the Idaho State University’s Distinguished Service Award. Seats for this program are reserved by calling 783-3000. A $10 donation or a membership to the Fort Smith Heritage Foundation is requested to help with the ongoing preservation of the circa 1882 home of the U.S. Attorney of Judge Isaac C. Parker’s court.
Admission: $10; free to members of the Fort Smith Heritage Foundation
Event Location and Contact Information:
The Clayton House
514 North 6th Street
Fort Smith, Arkansas