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Vandals trash Masonic Temple causing $7,000 in damages
Masonic board member Alex Schmidt holds up the custom New Day Sun stained glass that was vandalized along with globes on top of the pillars in the background that have been replaced. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Vandals broke into the Masonic Lodge in the 200 block of North Powers Avenue sometime over the past weekend trashing the interior of the building and causing an estimated $7,000 in damage.

Tyrian Lodge #439 Master John Shaughnessy said an antique organ that had been donated by the family of the late Bill Eichner, honoring his past service, was left smashed beyond repair.  Eichner, a respected member of the business community in the 1960s, was remembered with a brass plate that had been mounted on the organ.

Shaughnessy said he had gone to the lodge for a Sunday evening meeting and found the door had been pried open with the building left in shambles.

“They broke the door that goes into the lodge room – it looked like they were focused against Masonry.  I don’t know what we could have done to make somebody so upset,” the Master said.

The break-in was believed to have happened either Friday night or Saturday night.  The clock mounted on the wall had been damaged with its hands stopped at 12:05, Shaughnessy added.  Also destroyed in the vandalism were emblems representing the DeMolay for boys and the Order of Rainbow Girls that were kept in the building.

“It is very uncomfortable that somebody would do that kind of harm to our fraternity,” he said.  “They had jimmied the front door open and left a foot print in the middle of the outside of the door.”

The Masonic Lodge was constructed in 1957. The organization dates back to its 1913 formation in Manteca.  It previously met upstairs in the Odd Fellows Hall in the 100 block of West Yosemite Avenue.  Members will celebrate their 100th anniversary in two years.

The Powers Avenue building has now been outfitted with a surveillance system that will be monitored 24/7 to protect the hall in the future.