Hillcornerstonelayingceremonybywriting,“We
feelunabletodoanythinglikejusticetothesplen-
dorofthesceneswhichpassed,ortotheexcellent
spiritandenthusiasticgoodfeelings,whichani-
matedwithanunanimousimpulse,anassemblage,
whichitisbelievedtobenoexaggerationtoesti-
mateat150,000,collectedfromeverystateofthe
Union.”

TheGrandLodgeofMassachusettsbroughtthe

samespiritofcelebrationtoitsownmilestones.On
June24,1867,MassachusettsMasonsgatheredto
dedicatetheirnewtempleatthecornerofBoylston
andTremontStreets,thesamelocationwherethe
presenttemplestands.Thisnewbuildingreplaced
theformerWinthropHouse,alsoknownas
Freemasons’Hall,whichburneddownonApril6,
1864,destroyingalmosteverythingthattheGrand
Lodgestoredonthepremises.

Onceagain,theMasonsgatheredontheCom-

monandformedaprocession.Accordingtothe
Proceedings,over200lodgesparticipatedinfull
regalia.

Thetotalnumberofmenwasestimatedat

12,000,“alargernumberofMasonsthanwereever
beforebroughttogetherinanypartoftheworldor
periodoftime.”ThegroupmarchedtotheMusic
HallwhereBro.Rev.WilliamS.Studleyof
Cincinnatigaveanoration.Thenewbuilding,a
whitestructureintheGothicstylewithfourstories
andanattic,wasdedicated.Thateveningtheoffi-
cersoftheGrandLodgeandtheirguestsenjoyeda
dinnerinthenewtemple’sEgyptianHall.

Shortlyafterdedicatingthenewtemple,the

GrandLodgeofMasonsinMassachusettsstarted
toconsidertheideaofestablishingahomeforsick
andagedMasonsandtheirfamilies.

Thiswasinspired,inpart,bylargersocialtrends.

PriortotheCivilWar,caringforthesickandeld-

erlywastheresponsibilityofthefamily.But,after
thewar,therewasincreasingconcernfortheprob-
lemsofoldage.Asthecountryurbanizedandin-
dustrialized,familiesnolongerworkedtogetheron
theirfarms.

Instead,theystartedtoleavetheirhomesfor

work,makingthecareofthesickandolddifficult.
BetweentheCivilWarandWorldWarI,therewas
anincreaseinthenumberandvarietyofhomesfor
theaged;thefirstretirementpensionprograms
wereestablishedinprivatebusinessandindustry;
andoldageannuitiesbegantobeofferedbylarge
insurancecompaniesandbyfraternalandmutual
benefitsocieties.

Byearly1911,theGrandLodgehadsufficient

fundingtoopenahomeinCharlton,MA(near
Worcesterinthecentralpartofthestate).

Anamountof$148,290wasraisedfrom30,000

Masons(abouthalfofthestate’smembership).
TheGrandLodgeproclaimedthatitwouldbe“a
homethatinelegance,comfortandgrandeuroflo-
cationandbreadthofoutlookwillbesecondtono
othernowestablished.”Thededicationtookplace
onMay25,1911.

Theceremoniesincludedaprocession,ahymn,

thereadingofseveralpsalms,andanexamination
ofthebuildingusingceremonialtools.TheGrand
Masteraddressedthecrowdof3,000reminding
themthat“theestablishmentofthishometo-day
istheresultofnorecentinspirationbuthasbeen
thegrowthofyears.”

Theweatherwasunfavorableandthreatening

duringpartoftheday,andjustastheGrandMas-
terfinishedhisaddress,therainbegantofall.

Theceremonywasinterruptedbrieflyandthen

thecrowdgatheredagainforanoration,theflag-
raisingandthesingingof“America.”

Todocumentthesecelebrationsandtheother

activitiesoftheGrandLodgeofMassachusetts,a
museumcollectionwasformallyestablishedin
1887.Thecommitteethatrecommendedthecre-
ationofthemuseum
turnedtotheGrand
Lodge’shistoryasthe
firstMasonicauthor-
ityinthewestern
hemisphere,“From
Massachusetts,asthe
fountain-head,has
sprungnearlyallthe

8

February2008/

TheNorthernLight

TheNew
Masonic
Temple,
Boston,JohnH.
Bufford,
Boston,MA,
1865.

Warrenfamilycoatof

arms,ca.1887,Loaned

bytheGrandLodgeof

Masonsin

Massachusetts,

photographby

DavidBohl.