About the Sidney Museum
The building located at 202 Sidney Avenue in Port Orchard was the original Masonic Hall in Port Orchard, Washington. Now on the National and State Historic Registers, it was built for the Masons of Port Orchard Lodge #98, the building, while currently used as a museum and art gallery, retains many of its original character defining features, such as interior doors and trim, raised seating areas and high ceilings. The building is one of a dwindling number of relatively unaltered, late 19th century, small town fraternal halls in Kitsap County. Its floor plan, building form and fenestration are clearly expressive of its function as a community and fraternal meeting place. The intact interior further reflects the traditional and symbolic uses of these spaces, from public entryway, community social hall and kitchen on the ground floor to the anterooms and "secret" meeting hall on the second floor.
The building is historically significant for its direct tie to the broad patterns of social history within the Kitsap County region. Completed in 1908, the two-story Masonic Hall is also significant as a property that embodies the distinctive characteristics of its type, and period of construction. The architect for the simple vernacular building is unknown, but the building is reflective of many early 20th century fraternal buildings. The simple design is reflective of many small town fraternal halls across Washington State.
Many of the original members of Port Orchard Lodge #98 were city officials and the founding leaders of the community. Port Orchard Lodge #98 was charted (1898) as part of District 12. Local businessman John Anslow, served as the first worshiped master. At the time, District 12 of the Grand Lodge of True and Accepted Masons of Washington had five lodges: Franklin #5 at Port Gamble, Kane #8 at Port Madison, Mt. Moriah #11 at Shelton, Union City #27 on Hood Canal, and Renton #29 at Port Blakely. All of these except the Union City Lodge, were in mill towns, which was typical of many fraternal halls. At first the Masons met in various locations between Bremerton and Port Orchard. In 1908 they decided to erect a lodge on a prominent corner, just a few blocks from the wharf. In order to capitalize on their investment, a building was designed to house commercial uses on the first floor, while the second floor was dedicated to lodge functions. Early first floor tenants included a print shop, and the local commercial club.
Between 1920 and 1924, the first floor was rented to the local newspaper, the Port Orchard Independent. Upstairs, the meeting hall was shared by other societies beside the Masonic Order. In 1931 the Independent Order Odd Fellows Olympic View began meeting in the hall as well as the Port Orchard Chapter #44 of the Order of Eastern Star and in 1938, the Rainbow Girls began meeting there. These fraternal societies met in the building until June 1950 when Lodge #98 sold the building to the Port Orchard Aerie No. 2338, Fraternal Order of Eagles. The Masons had built a larger meeting hall further up Sidney Avenue. The Fraternal Order of Eagles owned the building and met there until November 1956 when it was sold to the Olympic View Lodge No. 254, Independent Order Odd Fellows.
In 1972, the building was purchased by the Sidney Museum and Arts Association.