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From Liberal Freemason, Vol. III, No. 10, January 1880, Page 310:


Something like one year ago, it came to be quite well known in Waltham, that Charles A. Welch, Esq., was about to erect a handsome brick building in that town, in a conspicuous location, where it would be an ornament to it, and a pleasant thing for the citizens to look upon, more especially those who were interested in local improvements.

To those who were merely curious, it was of but little consequence, but as it grew beneath the hands of architect and builder, and its proportions became more and more apparent. it was realized by all that the public library, if located there, would be accessible to all the citizens to as great an extent as in any other locality that could be chosen, while the enterprise of the owner was recognized, and his public spirit was applauded for contributing so much for the town's embellishment and the advantage of its people. Standing at the corner of two streets, Charles and Moody, and overlooking the common, or public park, it is conspicuous not only because of its location, but also because of the simple grace and harmony of the architecture.

Waltham has two Lodges and one Royal Arch Chapter of Masons in it, and these Bodies naturally turned their attention to this new structure. The owner, who is also M. W. Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, met them with great liberality, and as he knew the practical wants of the craft, the result is entirely satisfactory. Indeed, the entire circumstances seemed to conspire for the benefit of all parties. Brother Henry H. Hartwell, a Past High Priest .of the Chapter, and a resident of the town, but having an office in Boston, was the Architect chosen by the Grand Master to carry out the enterprise to a recognized success. At its completion, the Brethren inaugurated a Masonic Fair, in connection with which, a little paper, called the Fair Mason, was published, and to which we are indebted for a description of the premises. Before giving this, we cannot refrain from calling attention to the evident fitness of things in the respective characters of the occupants.

The lower story is occupied as a library for the people, the two upper stories by the brotherhood, each in their respective ways, diffusing light and knowledge to their fellows.

The Masonic apartments were dedicated on the evening of St. John's Day, Dec. 27th, by M. W. Grand Master Welch, and other officers and members of the Grand Lodge in the presence of a very large audience, brethren and ladies.

The material is brick, and the building has been thoroughly constructed from top to bottom. The edifice faces Moody Street, being 39 feet and four inches wide, and 100 feet in depth. It is three stories high above the cellar, which extends under the entire building, and which has a floor of cement.

There are two entrances on the Moody Street side, one to the first floor which is to be taken by the public library, and the other to the second and third floors, which are to be occupied by the Masonic bodies.

The outer porch of the library, which is 11 ft. wide and 7 ft. in depth, is entered through iron gates which swing inwardly and fasten back on either side. When the library is closed these gates will be locked and when it is open they will invariably be fastened back.

From the porch a vestibule 6 ft. deep and 11 ft wide, is entered through heavy black walnut doors and from the vestibule the public library room is reached.

This story is 14 ft. high in the clear, and is wainscoted four feet from the floor. Its finish is ash, which is the material used for finish* throughout the building. The apartment is divided through the centre by a screen or partition of ash. There are smooth and hard counter and two alcoves, one for the reception, and one for the delivery of books. The space in the rear will be occupied as the book-room, and the cases are to be arranged in alcoves at the' side of the apartment, it being estimated that shelf room will be afforded for 20,000 volumes. In the rear, in the north-west corner, is a committee room that can be entered either from the bookroom or from the outside, through a door in the west end of the building. In the opposite, or south-west corner, is a room for toilet purposes. In the south-east corner is a reading-room, 17 1/2 feet wide, and 9 feet long, an ash screen partitioning it from the genera] waiting room.

Some comments having been made relative to the fact that the outer door from the street leading to the second story ratings inwardly, it should be stated that this, like the iron gates, is intended to be fastened back at all times when the Masonic apartments are occupied. All the other doors open outwardly, including those at the foot and top of the staircase. The staircase is five feet wide, which is also the width of the first entry, which terminates in a library over the front entrance, whose dimensions are 9 x 11 feet, and at the stairs which lead to the banqueting room in the third story. From there an inside lobby connects with the reception room, in the south east corner, whose dimensions are 24 1/2 x 25 ft., the coat room, which is 8 x 16 feet, the ante-room in the south, whose dimensions are 11 1/2 x 12 feet, the Tyler's room in the north, which is 7x 16 feet, and the toilet room. The main Masonic hall is entered from the Tyler's room. The hall is 36 x 48 feet, and is 18 feet high, being carried up through the third story. This hall is admirable for the purposes for which it was designed. Nine large windows afford all the light necessary, and are opened and closed at the top with ease, by means of cords and pulleys, The walls are wainscoated six feet high, and are finished at the top with heavy ash cornices, decorated in color. he walls between the wainscoating and the cornices, are decorated in oil with a broad ornamental frieze at the top. There s a large ventilator in the centre, and there are twelve 3-inch pipes for air inlets behind the radiators, which can be opened or closed at will. The ventilation of the entire building is perfect.

The banqueting room on the front of the third floor, is 14 feet high, being finished up between the trusses in order to get the full height of the building, and is 31 x 49 feet. There are three ample ventilators in the roof. There are also an ample kitchen and a pantry connected with the banqueting room, which are provided with suitable conveniences.

From Liberal Freemason, Vol. III, No. 11, February 1880, Page 346:

In our last number we gave an account of the new Masonic apartments in Waltham, dedicated on St. John's Day, December 27th, 1879. The officers of the Grand Lodge, together with a number of Brethren invited by the Grand Master, were received ai the Station in Waltham, and taken in coaches direct to his residence, where they were hospitably entertained by M. W. Grand Master Welch, aided by his son Frank, who is also an interested member ol the Craft. At the proper time, all repaired to the new apartments, where the ceremonies of dedication were performed in the presence of a very large audience of ladies and brethren, who were entertained at a collation in the banquet hall, served at the conclusion of the official services. The interest in the occasion was increased by the somewhat novel ceremony of a double installation of the officers of the two Lodges, the Masters of each Lodge being installed at the same time, and so with the other officers of corresponding rank. The entire ceremonies of the evening were conducted by the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Charles A. Welch, who also addressed the audience in a pleasant and fraternal manner. We give the names of the elected officers of each Lodge.