En:Robert Gould Shaw

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Robert Gould Shaw

Photo Courtesy of Sid Graves. See also Buffalo Soldiers

A Home for Grand Lodge

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848 - 1907) United States National Park Service

Source: Wikipedia

Although there are indications that Freemasons met at several Boston locations in the 1720s, the constitution of the First Lodge took place at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern on July 30, 1733. This is also considered the first “home” of the Provincial Grand Lodge. After the Revolutionary War there were references to the Royal Exchange Coffee House as a potential site for a home but few records exist. The second floor of the Old State House was leased in 1821. This is the only building remaining in the city that housed the Grand Lodge prior to its present building.

In 1830, the Grand Lodge purchased land at the corner of Tremont Street and Temple Place and proceeded to lay the cornerstone for a Masonic Temple. A battle with the Commonwealth over the Grand Lodge Acts of Incorporation caused the Grand Lodge to sell the building to Brother Robert Gould Shaw, who sold it back to the Grand Lodge in 1835 after anti-Masonic feelings calmed down.

The building was sold to the U.S. government for $105,000 for use as a federal courthouse in 1857, because it was no longer adequate for a growing fraternity. Temporary headquarters were relocated to a building on Summer Street. A search for a permanent location ended with the purchase of the Winthrop House at the corner of Tremont and Boylston Streets in 1859. A fire destroyed the building on April 6, 1864. By October a cornerstone was laid for a new building at the same location, and the building was dedicated in 1867. Tremont Street frontage of the current Grand Lodge building in Boston

When fire destroyed part of the building in 1895, some wanted to sell the land and relocate. It was decided to tear down the entire building and rebuild a more substantial structure on the same site with nine floors above street level and two below. The cornerstone was laid in June 1898 and the building was dedicated on December 27, 1899. For many years there were storefronts on the street level with an entrance to the Masonic Temple on Boylston Street. In 1966, the stores were vacated, mosaics were added to the exterior, and the entrance was moved to the corner. The interior contained a new lobby and a banquet facility that was named Paul Revere Banquet Hall.

See also


  • Wikipedia about "Grand Lodge of Massachusetts"