®

interestinthelodgewithin

theircommunity.

Inasense,thesesignsof-

feredpublicity,allowingthe

fraternitytocontinuetogrow

andprosper.

SignswithMasonicsym-

bolsareonlyasubsetoftavern

signs.Takentogether,these

signswerepartofaneffortto

makethenewnationaunified

country.

Sometimestavernsigns

combineddifferenttypesof

symbolsonthesameside,ora

differentarrangementofmo-

tifsoneachside.

Thisprovidedawaytoap-

pealtodistinctsubgroups

withintheregionwhilesigni-

fyingparticipationinthenew

society.

Takenastepfurther,thede-

signoftavernsignsmayhave

beenpartofastruggleabout

whowasabletospeakforthe

newnation,ortoidentifywho,

orwhat,wasconsidered

“American.”

OneBostoninstitution

firmlylinkedwiththebirthof

theAmericannationisthe

GreenDragonTavern.

Intheopinionofonewriter

in1917,“TheGreenDragon

willprobablyoutliveallits

contemporariesinthepopu-

larestimation.”

Indeed,thehistorythatoc-

curredundertheGreen

Dragon’seyesduringthelate

1700swillforeverberemembered.

Thesignforthetavernwasametal

dragonthatextendedoutabovethe

door.AdrawingofthetavernbyJohn

Johnston(1753-1818)in1773showsthe

dragon-shapedsign.

TheGreenDragonwaslocatedin

Boston’sNorthEndandwaspurchased

bytheLodgeofSt.Andrewin1764.

MembersofthelodgeincludedPaul

RevereandJosephWarren.Severalof

thoseMasonswerealsomembersofthe

SonsofLibertyandmetatthetavernto

conductbusinessforeachgroup.

Accordingtotheinscriptiononthe

drawing,thisiswherethefamedBoston

TeaPartywashatched.Itsays,“Where

wemettoPlantheConsignmentofa

fewShiploadsofTeaDec.161773.”

In1798,thebuildingwasvaluedat

$3000fortaxpurposesandwasde-

scribedasathree-storybrickbuilding

with39windowsandastable.

Thestoryofthetavern’ssigndemon-

strateshowpowerfulthesesymbols

couldbeforlocalresidents.

Thepublishedproceedingsofthe

centennialceremoniesfortheLodgeof

SaintAndrew,whichtookplacein1856,

includeareportbythecommittee

chargedwithlocatingtheoriginal

dragonsign,orifunabletofindit,with

procuringareproductionofthesign.

Thecommitteespent18monthsask-

ingeveryonetheycouldthinkofwho

mightknowwherethesignwaslo-

cated.

Theyalso“madeverydiligentsearch

inallplaceswhereitmightbesupposed

tobelaidawayorconcealed.”

Unfortunately,theyhadnoluckand

instead“preparedamodelwhichthey

havecausedtobecarvedinatrulyartis-

ticandworkmanlikemanner...bya

skillfulpersonintheemployofMr.

ThomasJ.Bailey,ofthiscity[Boston].”

Thelodgethenmountedthenew

dragonsignin1855onthe

buildingthatwasthen

standingontheoriginalsite

oftheGreenDragonTavern.

Thedragonsigniscur-

rentlypartofthecollection

oftheGrandLodgeofMa-

sonsinMassachusetts.Made

fromdark-coloredcastiron

withaslightlygreenish

tinge,thisisalsoarepro-

ductionandmayormaynot

havebeenusedatthesiteof

theoriginalGreenDragon

Tavern.

The1855committeereport

suggeststhattheoriginal

tavernsignwasmadeof

copper,“asfarasthemem-

oryofthosewhoretained

anyknowledgeofitcould

pointout.”

Inaddition,theyused

memoriesofsomelodge

memberstoassisttheartist

insculptingtheirreproduc-

tion.

Wherememoryfailed,the

artist“suppliedthedefect

fromaverybeautifuland

costlyworkofart,repre-

sentingthepatronsaintof

England,St.George,andhis

usualaccompaniment,the

dragon.”

FortheLodgeofSt.An-

drew,asignwasmorethana

sign.Byreproducingthefan-

cifuldragon-shapedsignof

theGreenDragonTavern,

theywereabletohonorthe

memoryofthosewhohadgonebefore

whileaddingsomethingtangibletothe

landscapesignifyingtheachievements

oftheirlodge.

Asthecommittee’sreportconcludes,

thesign“marksaspotwhichshould

neverbeforgottenasoneoftheearly

meetingplacesofSt.Andrew’sLodge,

andasmemorableforitsconnection

withmanyoftheeventsoftheAmeri-

canRevolution.”

WhilethematerialandformofMa-

sonicsignshavechangedinthe21st

century,theirfunctionshavenot.Ma-

sonicsymbolsarevisibleonsignsand

buildingsinalmosteveryAmerican

town.

AsaspokesmanforSt.John’sLodge

explainedabouttheoriginalBunchof

Grapessign,“Thisemblemis,indeed,a

treasuretopossess,initselfbutarudely

carvedandornamentedsymbol;but

Americancitizens,andmoreespecially

12

THENORTHERNLIGHT/AUGUST2007

J.BrooksTavernsignfrom1824featuring

thesquareandcompasses.

Courtesy,OldSturbridgeVillage.