Friday, January 4, 2008

Visit a Masonic Lodge!

I’ve written about National Treasure: Book of Secrets and its connections to Freemasonry for my last several posts. The rich history of the Masonic fraternity and it’s interconnectedness to the formation of the United States of America make it a fun topic to explore.

You should also consider exploring Masonic lodges in the real world! These buildings and the organizations that inhabit them can be breathtaking. I’ve never been to a lodge that wasn’t happy to show an interested person around. Below are a few lodges that I’m familiar with.

The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: This building is incredible! There are seven different lodge rooms and each one is more awe-inspiring and opulent than the next. There is a web based tour of the building at: Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Tour . The link will land you on a page that has links to all the lodge rooms. The rest of the tour is worth taking as well. But, if you're anywhere near Philadelphia, a tour of this building is worth adding to your travel plans.

Onion Creek Lodge #220 in Austin, TX: I'm partial to this lodge! It's where I was raised and I'm a Past Master of the lodge. The lodge was originally constructed in the late 1800s. The frontier history surrounding the lodge is very interesting. It served as an elementary school and several of the local churches shared its meeting hall on alternating Sundays. The lodge is ope every Monday and Thursday night. Drop by and talk to the guys. Ask about the ghost that lives on the second floor. Even better, ask them about the money they raise every year to help support Pleasant Hill Elementary down the road. The modern day elementary school is the same school that used to reside in the lodge building. The lodge has provided everything from reading programs to holiday gifts for the kids there. This year, they raised more than $1800 for holiday gifts. More than 40 kids had holiday gifts that wouldn't have otherwise.

The Grand Lodge of Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland: The interior of this building is incredible! In contrast to the exteriors of American lodge buildings, this lodge is hard to spot from the outside if you don't know the address. There has been so much interest in the lodge building lately that they have set up two tours per day ever week day.

Mountain View De Anza Lodge #194 in Mountain View, CA: The members of this lodge are a great bunch of guys! They're very interested in Masonic history and Masonic research. The lodge is in downtown Mountain View near the walking district. They meet every Tuesday at 7:00 PM.

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