615 N. MAIN

The two-story red brick Ark Valley Masonic Hall, built in 1910, was the home of the Arkansas Valley Lodge #21 of the Prince Hall Masons. It is one of the few remaining commercial buildings from Wichita's earlier African-American business district.

Nominated for being one of the oldest social centers of the African-American community in Wichita, it was used as a meeting, banquet and dance hall. The building was reportedly designed by a local African-American architect, Josiah Walker.

The following was taken  from the NATIONAL REGISTER INFORMATION SYSTEM of the National Park Service. 

"Built in 1910, this hall is the last surviving commercial building of the black business community located for many years on Wichita's North Main Street. The Arkansas Valley Lodge No. 21, Prince Hall Masons, chartered in 1885, purchased the lot for the building on November 10, 1905, from a black grocer named G. W. Young. Construction was under way in the spring of 1910. A cornerstone-laying ceremony was held Sunday, April 3, 1910. The building may have been designed by a black architect, Josiah Walker, who had designed other buildings in the black community. The local black newspaper described it as one of the finest buildings owned by a black lodge. Other organizations, such as the Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows, and Knights of Tabor, rented the hall for their meetings. At times the first floor, as well as the second floor office space, was rented to black businesspeople. Many groups used the facilities for banquets, dances. bazaars, plays, musical shows, and other recreational activities. In many respects the ArkansasValley Lodge No. 21 was a rallying force in social and cultural life of the black community."

National Register Nomination: