Review of Freemasonry

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The Square Magazine for the DECENNIAL of PS Review of Freemasonry
10 papers published on The Square Magazine from 1996 through 2006 to celebrate the 10 years of PS Review of Freemasonry.
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This project is sponsored by Lewis Masonic, the leading Masonic publisher since 1886.

The Masonic Temple of the G.L. of F. & A. M. of Pennsylvania
Published in The Square Magazine Vol 29, September 2003

© All editorial matter contained in this Magazine is copyright and may not reproduced without written permission from the publisher

IT IS RARE that the advertising or publicity is accurate regarding the product. So when a friend of The Square told us that the Philadelphia Masonic Temple is "One of the wonders of the masonic world" we didn't hold our collective breath. 

We were wrong. A glance at the illustrated brochure issued by the Grand Lodge of  F. & A. M. shows a breathtakingly beautiful building, with an equally attractive interior. It was dedicated in 1873, and is a true architectural gem. The dedication -on the 87th anniversary of the independence of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania - included a parade of 14,000 marchers. Pennsylvania is the oldest GL in America. 

philadelphia_masonic_temple One part of the exterior of the building is of Cape Ann syenite, a stone which takes its name from Syne in Upper Egypt, where it was also quarried by the ancient Egyptians for monuments. The other part is of Fox Island granite from the state of Maine. In accordance with masonic tradition, the stones were cut, squared, marked and numbered at the quarries, and brought to the temple ready to be placed in position. 

The Grand Foyer is, well, grand, and at the eastern end sweeps into the Franklin Room, where masons can sit, slurp coffee and admire the view. The meeting place of the Grand Lodge is the awesome Corinthian Hall which is a classical Greek composition (no pun intended). The Renaissance Hall looks more like the interior of a cathedral than a masonic meeting place. Ionic Hall is stark in its beauty. While the Egyptian Hall is a masterpiece -you expect to see Rameses swagger past any second. The Norman Hall is another that can be described as severely beautiful. And the Gothic Hall is a towering, visual delight that is also called the Asylum of Knights Templar; in addition it's the home of the Philadelphia Ancient and Accepted (Rose Croix} Rite. As words cannot really do these halls justice, we hope to have space for several illustrations. 

The building is a far cry from the original meeting place, the Tun Tavern, where they met from 1732 to 1734. It was owned by Brother John Hobart. It was also known as Peggy Mullen's Beefsteak House. The first lodge building (1755) claims to be the first masonic building erected and dedicated to Freemasonry in the western world. It was at times occupied by both Moderns and Antients. But enough of descriptions; a glance at these photographs is enough to convince any mason that they just have to visit.


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