The City of Annapolis received a $200,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to restore the exterior of the historic Universal Lodge #14 on Clay Street in Annapolis. The renovation is expected to take about ten months.
Mayor Gavin Buckley applauded DHCD’s decision to award the funds for this project. “This grant will help the community preserve the significant legacy of Annapolis’ African American community and contribute to the revitalization of the Clay Street neighborhood,” Buckley said.
The historic Universal Lodge #14 is an African-American Masonic Lodge located at 64 Clay Street, in an area known as the “Old Fourth Ward.” The structure dates to 1880 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The members acquired the building around 1940 for the lodge’s headquarters.
The lodge was founded in 1865 by a group of African America civilian employees of the Naval Academy. The building is important because the lodge and its members contributed in a significant manner to the fabric of the Clay Street community, especially in the 1960s. The last major renovation of the building was in 1956.
Since then, members of the Lodge have asked the City for technical and financial assistance to preserve and restore the structure. In 2018, an architect conducted predevelopment work through a grant from the Community Development office in the City of Annapolis’ Department of Planning and Zoning.
With this new grant funding, the City will request proposals in early 2020 and begin seeking a contractor to complete the preservation and restoration work. Construction is expected to begin by July 2020. The City will encourage and prioritize minority and/or women-owned businesses to enter the competitive bidding process.
Last year, the City was awarded $200,000 under a similar grant to renovate the existing “mall” on Dock Street to create an artist’s space the Mayor envisioned calling The Cannery. That grant was recalled by the State (DHCD) because the project never materialized.