Bahama Road, 1980s
Per the County Historic Inventory and the HPSD 2003 Tour booklet:
This combination lodge hall and general retail store building was constructed in 1905 for the express purpose of relocating Masonic Lodge #158 from its original site in Knap of Reeds, a small settlement near present-day Butner. The lodge had been started there in the late 1860's and grew to have immense significance in the social and political life of the male members of the agrarian community surrounding Bahama. The Masonic Order remains highly regarded in Bahama today, continuing to meet semimonthly at the new lodge hall on Bahama Road. Though the decoration of this two-story frame structure is spare, together with the A.W. Tilley Store directly across the road, it forms the commercial axis of the village.
Alfred Wilkins opened a general store in the storage area of the building. After the store closed in 1950, the ground floor became the Post Office until a new Post Office was built nearby in 1959. The Masons continued using the upstairs meeting area until 1981. The building lay empty until the Roberts renovated it and opened up Bahama Hardware and Feed in 1992. Although the feed store was a popular meeting place, the Roberts sold the building after a few years. It housed a beauty shop briefly, followed by the Bahama Cycle Shop.
Plain weatherboarding covers the entire exterior except for the porch area and the lodge entrance, which consists of a single-leaf door set in the northeast (rear) comer of the building. The ground level storefront in the gable front building presents an inviting appearance to the onlooker. The recessed center entrance features double-leaf doors, which combine half-glazing above their moulded horizontal panels. The doorway, also fitted with double-leaf screen doors, incorporates a three-pane transom. The balance of the storefront consists of rectangular sheets of glass set in wooden frames. The amount of light which entered this south facing storefront, along with that, admitted by just two side windows, was sufficient for the operation of the store because the entire beaded ceiling board interior was painted light-reflecting white.
The lodge hall and its staircase entrance at the rear of the building, by contrast, exhibit handsome wainscoting throughout, as well as varnished six-panel doors having mouldedsurrounds. These interior finishes which would be overbearingly dark in the Bahama residences of the period, were not only appropriate to the formal nature of the hall, but also practical because of the large amount of sunlight allowed into the second story meeting hall by nine symmetrically placed four-over-four double-hung windows. Varnished window surrounds match the other upstairs trim, while outside the windows are trimmed with plain boards. The gable is ornamented only by a quatrefoil louvered vent. A small storage shed is appended to the north wall.
1419 Bahama Road, 10.26.08
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