Daily News

Melha Shriners Sell 133 Longhill St. Campus to Breakthrough Worship Center

SPRINGFIELD — The Melha Shriners announced they have sold their property and building at 133 Longhill St. in Springfield to the Breakthrough Worship Center of Springfield, with a March 25, 2019 closing date anticipated. The Melha Shriners, the local chapter of Shriners International, supporters of Shriners Hospitals for Children, have been headquartered at the Longhill Street location for almost 60 years.

According to 2019 Melha Potentate Dan Smith, the sale of the building marks the end of an era, but the beginning of a new one.

“With our membership continuing to decline, it was not financially viable to remain in such a large building,” said Smith, noting that the Melha Shriners, who numbered near 4,000 in the late 1970s, now number few than 1,000. “We are very pleased that our buyers, and their planned use of the property, is consistent with the residential character of our Forest Park neighborhood.”

The Melha Shriners will hold a commemoration event at the Longhill property on Saturday, March 16 at 5 p.m. Complimentary tickets are available through the Melha Shrine Center office by calling (413) 736-3647 before Thursday, March 14. During the event, which will include complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a limited cash bar, the cornerstone from the 133 Longhill St. building will be removed, with the hope the Masonic Brothers left something to find. There will also be a slideshow of the history of the Melha Shriners at 133 Longhill St., and the public is encouraged to e-mail photos [email protected] before March 14.

The Melha Shriners, who were chartered in Springfield in 1898, purchased the former Dwight W. Ellis property in the late 1950s after having met around the city and occupying buildings on Sergeant Street and Worthington Street. The building on Longhill Street was dedicated on Sept. 26, 1959.

The fraternity will have temporary office space at the Clarion Hotel in West Springfield until a new, permanent location can be secured. The Melha Shriners also operate a property at the former Knights of Columbus Hall in Ware.

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