The contained emotion of Jesús Soriano during the presentation of the rehabilitation project of the Masonic Temple of Santa Cruz was the best example of the relevance of what was announced yesterday by the Capital City Council: the recovery for Santa Cruz of the largest architectural sample of Freemasonry in Spain , and unique in Europe. Soriano, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree of Freemasonry, thanked the City Council and the citizens of Santa Cruz for the possibility of recovering the Masonic Temple for the study and interpretation of Freemasonry. “After the persecution of the dictatorship, this is the greatest recognition that can be made to all those shot for being Freemasons,” said Soriano, visibly moved. A recovery in which the Santa Cruz City Council will invest 3.2 million euros, with the aim that the works are completed in 2023, when 100 years have passed since the completion of the construction of the building on Calle San Lucas.
This “museum of Masonry” as defined by the mayor of Santa Cruz, José Manuel Bermúdez, aims to be a center open to all citizens, where permanent and temporary exhibitions can be visited, which can be used by the different Lodges, in addition to becoming a “focus of world attraction, not only for the Masons, but for all visitors who come to the Island,” added the councilor.
In 2001, the City Council acquired the Masonic Temple, property of the State, which was declared BIC in 2007, to begin in 2013 the long road of its rehabilitation, a path that is about to be completed once the Council of Tenerife has given Green light to the execution project, although the details of that approval are yet to be known.
The mayor recalled that “the financing to repair this building is provided in its entirety by the City Council”, while the Councilor for Infrastructure, Dámaso Arteaga, pointed out that “the roadmap that the City Council has is the final approval of the project, which it has had a cost of 230,000 euros and, of course, the tender for the execution of the works ”. The times that the Corporation is considering are those of “putting the execution project out to tender as soon as possible, something that we will do as soon as we have the Cabildo report, for, in the first quarter of 2022, award and start the works, which have a deadline execution period of between 12 and 15 months.
Soriano in his speech advanced that not only the Lodges of Spain are happy for this rehabilitation, but the entire world Freemasonry recognizes the importance of recovering the Masonic Temple, as well as its willingness to collaborate in whatever is necessary.
As for the rehabilitation project, detailed by the architect Nieves Febles, this advanced that the exhibitions will be arranged in the old Chapter House and in the Hall of Lost Steps or old main hall. The Meeting Room will be dedicated to the celebration of conferences and its use will be compatible with the celebration of rites. In the subsoil, the route excavated as the Reflection Room will remain in its current state, without lighting. The digital consultation library will be located on the first floor, which used to be the Sala de Ágapes, and on the second floor will be the Documentation and Archive Center of the Canarian Lodges, the first of its kind in the Islands. The façade recovers the original state, replacing the door introduced by the military during the occupation of the building during the dictatorship, with a window, maintaining the symmetry of the façade. In addition, the side wall will be demolished, allowing an oblique view of the temple from the street and the sphinxes that guard the Masonic Temple will be restored.
Almost 100 years of architectural survival
The Masonic Temple was the first building occupied by the protagonists of the national uprising in Santa Cruz. They did so by destroying everything they found in their path, retaliating against how many names they found in their files. On July 18, 1936, the Masonic Temple ceased to be so to become a military pharmacy depot. Before, much earlier, in 1895, the most important Masonic workshop in the Canary Islands, the Logia Añaza, was founded, which managed to build the best Masonic temple in Spain on Calle San Lucas.