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History of the Harmony Lodge, Inc. Building

Historical Synopsis

(Text taken from the left half of the plaque in the Lodge entrance hallway, written by Dan Fitzpatrick from materials found in the original cornerstone of the building and information from the Masons and the Cincinnati Historical Society.)

Harmony Lodge History Plaque

"On September 8, 1877, a deed was conveyed to the trustees of Mill Creek Township for the sum of $100 for the purpose of creating a town hall for the village of Winton Place. On a 50 by 125 foot lot on the northeast corner of Epworth Avenue (formerly Elm Street) and Edgewood Avenue, a one-story frame building was erected for public meetings and entertainment. By 1885, use of this building had expanded to include Winton Village Council, Winton Lodge National Union, and for Sunday worship by St. Stephens Protestant Episcopal Church. Coal-oil lamps and two "Cannon" stoves provided light and heat in this early town hall.

"By September 1893, the building was deemed inadequate and was sold to the Village of Winton Place. Additional property was acquired, bringing the total area to its present size of 100 X 135 feet. The frame building was torn down and replaced by a much larger brick structure, which comprises the existing auditorium and banquet room below. This new town hall was dedicated on July 4, 1894 by the Honorable Jacob H. Bromwell.

"For the next 26 years, this site was the center for nearly all important public assemblies, society meetings and general village purposes. For a time, as the seat of village government, a portion of the basement was used for a jail. It also housed the single-horse-drawn fire apparatus. The alcove, formed by angular extensions of the building on the Edgewood Avenue side, was frequently used as a stable area for horses, still being used at the turn of the century as the principal means of transportation.

"With the annexation of the Village of Winton Place into the City of Cincinnati in 1903, the town hall was maintained by the City until 1926. On March 10th of that year, the City ordained that this building was no longer needed for municipal purposes, and it was placed at public auction.

"After a number of years of planning, and a strong desire to locate permanently in Winton Place, the trustees of Winton Lodge 614, Free and Accepted Masons, entered a bid for purchase, which was accepted by the City in June 1926.

"By September 1928 extensive remodeling and improvements were completed, at a cost of $120,000. With much pomp and ceremony, the new Masonic Temple was rededicated, to Masonry, September 30th, 1928, by the Honorable Charles W. Hoffman.

"For the next 52 years, this building remained as one of the finest Masonic Lodge facilities in the City. During this period its members, along with its Eastern Star arm, took a very active part in the civic and social affairs of this community, always providing solidarity and purposeful commitment in the grand tradition of Masonry.

"On October 12th, 1980, this property was purchased by Harmony Lodge, Inc."

The following snapshot from 1981 shows the grand opening and dedication of Harmony Lodge, Inc. with Dan Fitzpatrick addressing the crowd. Charlie Hartoin is in the foreground. Sadly, both of these founders are now deceased.  

dedication 1981

See the Scale Models, Drawings, Historical pictures of the old Winton Place Town Hall, now Harmony Lodge.

Harmony Lodge, Inc. is a private corporation created to find a permanent home for Barbershop Harmony choruses in Cincinnati. The original stockholders, listed below, were members of three of Cincinnati's five men's and women's Barbershop chapters. (For an overview of Barbershop Harmony and the men's Barbershop Harmony Society, visit and read their history pages, and visit their home page barbershop.org. Visit the Sweet Adelines website at www.sweetadelineintl.org).

Founders of Harmony Lodge

(Text taken from the right half of the plaque.)

"In the years ahead, the citizens of our great city will come to recognize and embrace Harmony Lodge as an important addition to the revitalization of the inner city. Further, it will bring to all people of this community a proud and unique civic service through Barbershop Harmony, America's oldest song style. This enterprise was founded on the same basic principles that have made our nation great. Harmony Lodge is today a reality because of the vision, determination and effort of these dedicated men and women:

list of founders

The Scale Model

(Text taken from the drawing panel posted above the model
in the entryway of Harmony Lodge, written by Dan Fiztpatrick)

"Prior to extensive remodeling in 1928, Harmony Lodge (Winton Town Hall) looked quite different. To build a model, one needs to know what the thing being modeled looks (or looked) like. The scaled elevations shown here were developed from piecemeal information derived from six photos circa 1926, old remodeling blueprints and present physical data. Cincinnati City Hall and U.C.'s McMicken Hall also typify the architecture of the late 1800's.    Winton Town Hall -- Dedicated 1893."

See the Scale Models, Drawings, Historical Pictures of the old Winton Place Town Hall, now Harmony Lodge.

Interested in the history of Harmony Lodge, Inc. owners? Read about the founding of the corporation to the present.

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