From MasonicGenealogy
Jump to: navigation, search




Lawrence Lodge Room, 1909


From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXXI, No. 12, October 1872, Page 357:

Lawrence Masonic Temple, 1872

A new and beautiful Masonic Hall, recently erected at Lawrence by Grecian, Tuscan, and Phoenician Lodges, Mount Sinai Chapter and Bethany Commandery, was dedicated to Masonic purposes on Thursday the 12th ult. The ceremonies were performed by M. W. Grand Master Nickerson, assisted by the following brethren of the Grand Lodge.

At the conclusion of the ceremonies of dedication, Grand Master Nickerson addressed the brethren present, expressing his pleasure at being present open an occasion so auspicious. The change from the eld apartments could hut excite pride and gratification in the members, who must experience new enjoyment in the performance of Masonic ceremonies amid such pleasant surroundings. The apartments he pronounced among the most tastefully furnished and decorated of any he had seen, and expressed great gratification at the evident prosperity o( the Order in the city, New zeal should be inspired for the principles of our ancient Order. He enjoined upon the members the importance) of harmony, not only between the individual members, but the several lodges; of care to preserve the purity of the Order in the admission of new members, and of charity, that foundation stone of the fraternity. He closed by a renewed expression of his great satisfaction at the prosperous condition of the lodges in Lawrence.

A very neat and interesting address was then delivered by Bro. Dr. John Stowe, in which he sketched with great clearness, the rise and rapid progress of the Order in Lawrence, tracing it from the establishment of Grecian Lodge (originally at Methuen) in 1825, to the present time. The address is ably written, and is of so much interest that we should be pleased to transfer it entire to our pages could we spare the necessary room for the purpose. The three existing Lodges contain an aggregate total membership of 615 brethren; Mt. Sinai Chapter has 177 members ; Lawrence Council 92 members; and Bethany Commandery 140 members — showing an increase since 1848 of 603 members in the Lodges exclusive of the Chapter, Council and Commandery. "This increased membership," says Dr. Stowe, "these new bodies, these commodious apartments of the craft, indicate the rapid and solid growth of Free Masonry since the evening when the brethren met at the house of Dr. Huse to revive their sleeping Lodge. That twelve, seem to have been the twelve apostles of a new era for the order in this vicinity."

At the conclusion, of the address the Grand Lodge retired, and -were eoon after escorted to the banqueting boll, where, says the Lawrence American (to which we are mainly indebted for the details here given) the tables were elegantly spread, presenting in their tasteful Arrangement, their marked neatness, generous profusion of flowers, including a fragrant little button hole bouquet for each guest, and alike liberal and attractive viands, as pleasing an appearance as any we have ever seen in our city, and in every degree creditable to the caterers.

At the end of the banquet short and pertinent speeches wave made by the Grand Master and other officers of the Grand Lodge, and others, In the evening the ladies of the members were present and united in the social enjoyments of the evening. "From beginning to and, "says the American, "the entire occasion was one of high tone, complete arrangement, without a break or jar and the Masonic Fraternity of our city are alike to congratulate themselves and be congratulated by others, on so worthy, so successful and so auspicious a dedication of rooms, second in tastefulness and elegance, to no others in the State."

The principal hall is in the central portion of the building, extending from front to rear, measuring 36 1-2 x 67 feet, with a height of 30 feet; this room is constructed with exceeding good taste, finished with heavy Gothic arches on each of the ends and sides, supported by richly ornamented corbels and mouldings, resting at the apex against a broad entablature, with drop ornaments, one at the apex of each arch ; inside the entablature is a wide panel, with heavy mouldings; the finish of the room and the furniture Is in black walnut, the ceiling is elegantly frescoed, and the walls ornamented with paintings and Masonic emblems. On the east side, north of the principal entrance, is the organ, while the officers-' chairs occupy a dais, with appropriate canopy.

The frescoing in this and in all the other halls, is exceedingly well done, and the furnishing is made to correspond. As a whole, the apartments are not only a credit to the enterprise and liberality of the Brethren of Lawrence, but are an honor to the fraternity of the Commonwealth.


From New England Craftsman, Vol. XII, No. 2, November 1916, Page 69:

The Freemasons of Lawrence, Mass., are considering- plans for a new Masonic Temple. It will be up to date in every respect. A lot in a desirable location has been purchased. It has a front of 200 feet. The new temples in New England have been inspected and all their desirable features of convenience and comfort will be remembered in deciding- on the plans for the Lawrence Temple. The most interesting thought connected with the enterprise is that the Temple will be built by donations from the brethren. It will surpass all other Masonic Temples in New England in one respect: it will have a banquet room in which seven hundred persons can be seated.


From New England Craftsman, Vol. XVII, No. 7, May 1922, Page 235:

With Masonic ceremonial, the corner stone of the new Masonic Temple on Jackson Street, Lawrence, Mass., was laid on the afternoon of April 29 by Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, A. F. & A. M., of Massachusetts.

Prior to the ceremony about 3,000 Masons, including members of the six local lodges and of lodges in Methuen. Andover and North Andover, took part in a parade through the principal streets of the city.

A copper box, placed in the cornerstone, was filled at the present Masonic Temple on Essex street, in the presence of and under the personal direction of the Lawrence Masonic Association. The various articles, many of them of rare historic value, were placed in the box by M. I. Dean K. Webster, chairman of the excutive committee. The box was then hermetically sealed and made ready for the exercises of the afternoon.

High officials of the various bodies were formally received at Masonic Temple, by Grecian Lodge. The parade assembled at this point and marched through the streets to the site of the new temple, with Bethany Commandery, K. T., under command of Comdr. John R. Marterson, acting as escort.

The blue lodges of this vicinity, St. Matthew's of Andover, Grecian of Lawrence, John Hancock of Methuen, Tuscan and Phoenician of Lawrence and Cochickewick of North Andover, marched in reverse order of their ages. William E. Redfern was chief marshal and the division commanders were Albert A. Schaake, Fred S. Hibbard and George D. Fitts.

Following the ceremonial a dinner was served aft Masonic Temple to officers and guests, the members of the committees, in connection with the new temple, officials of the 11th Masonic District and their two wardens, the high priest of the chapter and the next two officers below him, the presiding officer and the next officers below him of Lawrence council of Royal and Select Masters, the commander of Bethany Commandery and his guests, all Past masters, of the district and a few visiting Past Masters.

A buffet lunch was also served at the state armory to others taking part in the march.


Lawrence Masonic Temple, 1923

From Proceedings, Page 1923-113:

The first recorded Masonic meeting within the limits of Lawrence was held by St. Matthew's Lodge, of Andover, in the Parker or Towne Tavern, January 25, 1823. This tavern, now a dwelling house, is situated at the corner of Andover and Parker Streets.

When Grecian Lodge, the oldest of the Masonic bodies in Lawrence, was chartered December 14, 1825, in Methuen, it held its meetings in Literary Hall, a building erected a short time before by the Literary Society of Methuen. The rental of the hall was twenty dollars per annum for two nights in four weeks. It was situated on the easterly side of the Turnpike, now Broadway, near Park Street. It was later moved to the west part of Methuen Village and changed into a dwelling house, and was occupied by Wor. Brother James O. Parker, of John Hancock Lodge.

When Grecian Lodge came to Lawrence in December, 1847, it met in a hall in Merchants Row on Essex Street, in the building now occupied by the Lawrence Telegram, and remained there until September, 1852, when it moved to new and larger quarters in City Block, at what is now No. 283 Essex Street.

When Tuscan Lodge was organized in 1862, it secured and fitted up a hall at the northeast corner of Essex and Jackson Streets. The other Masonic bodies also held their meetings there, Grecian Lodge moving there in December, 1864. The Fraternity occupied this hall until September, 1872, when all the bodies moved to new quarters in Saunders Block.

For many years the Craft realized a growing demand for more commodious quarters — Masonic Apartments more in keeping with the aspirations and purposes of Free Masonry. The home of the Fraternity in Lawrence had for more than half a century been made in the Saunders Block cm Essex Street, and improvements, enlargements and adornments had from time to time been planned and carried through to render the apartments comfortable and spacious for the increase in work of Masonry.

Many indeed are the happy memories of Lodge Institutions, raisings, and calls to refreshment which now and ever will cluster around the time-honored walls of the old apartments until he who shall be last raised and last worked there shall have gone into the realms of eternal time.

But it is ever the lot of humankind to pass from the old to the new, to turn from the setting to the rising sun, and Lawrence Masonry of today views with happy anticipation the new home which has risen in our midst. It has long been contemplated, long yearned and planned for. At least one abortive attempt within the last quarter century was made to bring to fruition the cherished hope of the Brotherhood, and its failure, at least to Masons of the present generation, has proved a blessing in disguise, though a sore disappointment to the Craftsmen of that day.

The spirit of the Craft was rapidly reaching a climax which would carry before it all obstacles in the way of securing the realization of their hopes, and it reached a concrete expression when at a meeting of the Masonic Association, to quote from the records:

"Brother Henry K. Webster spoke of the desirability of starting a fund for the erection of a Masonic building. He announced that if this association would appropriate one thousand dollars for the purpose he would contribute the same amount to form a nucleus for such a fund, the fund to be held and dedicated solely to the purpose of erecting a building, and he suggested the formation of a committee to raise funds for this purpose."

On October 22, 1915, Grecian Lodge under the mastership of Rt. Wor. Bro. Charles A. Stone held its annual visitation and with the subject of a new Temple broached the Craft assembled to the number of upwards of five hundred rose en masse to the trumpet call of "Let's go." The enthusiasm was quick and responsive to the extent even that it was not easy to restrain for more orderly and systematic procedure. But it was the touch of the necessary spark to kindle into a veritable conflagration the long smothered embers of wish and hope. The renewed faith spread rapidly throughout the whole Craft and quickly ripened into a determination which soon amounted to a demand that something be done and done at once.

The response of the Craft was wholeheartedly generous to a degree which amazed even the most ardent supporters of the project. It had early been decided that the new building should be a Temple in its truest sense.

No considerations of income from extraneous sources were allowed to lead the Temple builders from having a Masonic home devoted solely and exclusively to Masonic purposes. No bonds, no income-producing certificates, but solely a voluntary freewill offering of their resources from the hearts of the Brethren — with the single-minded purpose that by means of the new Temple and their example Masonry might exert to the full its beneficent influences within the community.

Such an illustration of personal sacrifice had no parallel in the history of the Craft in this or any other jurisdiction of the Commonwealth and all honor should be paid to those who so nobly responded to the call, whether the pledge was from the bulging bank account of the wealthy or from the small daily wage of the poor. Indeed and in truth here does the widow's mite find equal honor with the gift from out the abundant store.

The astounding sum of one hundred and twenty-eight thousand dollars was pledged for the five year annual payment plan from eleven hundred and twenty-eight members of the Fraternity.

At a special meeting of the association held on September 15, 1921, that body approved the recommendation of the Board of Directors and gave it full and complete authority to proceed with the construction, completion, and equipping of the building, and in pursuance of that vote the Directors authorized the Building Committee to sign contracts and begin the work. Carrying out the authority thus given, the Building Committee awarded the contract to Brother John A. Peabody.

It was a joyous and happy gathering of Masons on October 24, 1921, at the site on Jackson Street when, the old houses removed, the ground was broken and the first spade sank into the soil. Soon came the completion of the excavating and the rising of the walls of the long deferred building. Tt was the first tangible evidence to the restrained Craft that their hopes would be realized and their sacrifices give place to the fruition of the longings of tedious years. The photographs taken at the time of the breaking of the ground ceremonies and placed in the corner stone well attest the sacred joy of the occasion.

But the worries of the Executive Committee were not over. The hard, cold facts of the necessity of financing the project further stared them constantly in the face and on them, as in 1916, rested the duty of seeing it through in a businesslike and safe manner.

Full authority had been given to this committee and it proceeded to the task before it as devotedly as it had done six years before and with an equal supreme confidence in the ultimate response of the Brethren to the call. November 17, 1921, saw it start and again there was enthusiastic, loyal, devoted work on the part of the teams and officers and a hearty response from the Craft at large.

In the main the personnel of the workers was the same as in 1916, but all, whether new members or old, joined energetically in the cause and the results were as gratifying and astounding as before: eleven hundred pledges and one hundred and five thousand dollars pledged covering a period as before of five annual payments, with additional pledges constantly coming in at the present writing.

Again the tribute of honor and commendation is given to the devoted workers and the loyal Craft for sacrifice and generosity in making the House of the Temple finally and conclusively possible.

And now it is done, the foundation laid, the corner stone in place and the Temple complete, and to future Masons is given this wondrous story of Masonic loyalty.

The architecture of the exterior is classic; it is simple, stately, and expresses the traditions of the Fraternity. It is frankly a Masonic Temple. The building is set on a strong rusticated base. The main facades are adorned with massive fluted columns in the Ionic order, which, together with the main walls, support a broad cornice and high attic above. All the main exterior walls are of light gray granite composite cast stone.

One approaches the building by a wide, easy flight of granite steps and enters by a large, genial doorway in the center of the main facade. On passing through the tiled and oak-paneled vestibule, one finds himself in the spacious lobby. .Straight ahead is the broad, handsome main staircase and a row of beautiful colored glass windows on the landing which at once give a sense of welcome. Down the corridor on the left are the office and coat room, the elevator, the large social or card room, the ladies' parlor and dressing rooms, and a committee room. Down the corridor on the right are the billiard room with accommodations for four tables, the lounge, the library, and the board room. The social room, ladies' parlor, billiard room, and library all have handsome fireplaces and mantels. The lobby, corridors, and main stairs are all floored with noiseless rubber tiling, resembling gray marble in appearance.

In the basement are located the bowling alleys, four in number, the main banquet hall which accommodates six hundred, a small hall for fifty, together with kitchens and boiler rooms. The main banquet hall contains a raised stage at one end for entertainments, and can be easily cleared for dancing.

Taking the large automatic elevator at the basement level, one can speedily reach the second floor of the building. While the basement and first floor provide quarters for sociability and entertainment, the second and third floors are the heart of the work of the Fraternity and are in reality the Temple.

On the second floor is located the main Lodge-room with its ante-rooms, tyler's room, preparation room, etc. Here also is the Gothic Chapel with its tyler's and preparation rooms. There are also located on this floor store rooms for the. various organizations and retiring rooms for the officers.

The third floor contains the Middle Chamber (small Lodge-room), the armory, and gallery of the main Lodge-room.

And now to go back to the main Lodge-room. It runs up two stories high and has a large gallery at the west end. It will accommodate more people than any other Lodge-room in the state outside of Boston. The whole plan, construction, and decoration of this room were designed to give the effect of a large pergola temple located near Jerusalem, surrounded by a garden wall and open to the sky and affording a view of the surrounding country. The pilasters and columns as well as the cross beams have been kept away from the ceiling and walls so that the sky can be brought down to and blended into the scenery on the walls. This gives an added apparent height to the sky and distance to the scenery on the walls.

The decorations of the Lodge-room are unique, and, as far as is known, are unequaled elsewhere. The ceiling is painted to imitate the sky with fleecy clouds here and there to break the monotony of the blue. The sky is carried down back of the beams and columns on to the walls and blends into scenes which in turn are carried down back of the garden wall. The sky is just the right blue and the scenery just the right hue so that it takes very little imagination to make one think he is in the open. The scenes represent the country of Palestine about Jerusalem at the time of Christ. They are laid out as follows: East wall, Jerusalem with Solomon's Temple in the foreground. South wall, Rachel's Tomb, Jericho, Tomb of David, Bethlehem, Road to the wilderness in Judea (west wall in gallery). North wall, Bethany, Bethel, Tomb, Shiloh.

The scenes are not, however, definitely broken into panels, but are arranged as one continuous panorama. The lighting of the main Lodge-room is another feature which is not surpassed elsewhere. All the lights are concealed back of the pergola beams and are reflected to the ceiling and down again to the floor, which gives the effect of the light coming from the sky. Particular effort has been put into the night scene, with which as Masons we are all familiar. By the manipulation of a theatrical dimming device, the light gradually fades out from east to west and dies out entirely after a red sunset glow in the west. At the same time stars appear in the heavens, which makes the whole scene very realistic. The stars are laid out in constellations as they appear on Christmas eve in this locality. Day comes on gradually in the same manner.