Thursday, October 1, 2009

Masonic Temple Buildings


Dan Brown's new book The Lost Symbol has been released and it’s only a matter of time before the movie is produced. I have not read the new book, but I understand that Tom Hank's character, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, races around Washington, D.C. searching for clues at the Masonic Temples, the U.S. Capitol and monuments in the area. With a focus on Freemasonry and Masonic secrets, ‘The Lost Symbol,’ is a reference to a ciphered pictogram in an important talisman, the Hebrew Key of Solomon. The book’s story is a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C. If Brown’s other books, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, are any guide, this book should also be a wildly popular thriller. Check out The Washington Post interactive map of Dan Brown's ''The Lost Symbol'' D.C. locations. As building collectors, we can own a souvenir of the famous locations in The Lost Symbol. I’ve written about. Masonic Temples in the D.C. area and both are featured in this book. The Supreme Council, 33° Scottish Rite House of the Temple is located on 15th street in Washington, D.C. I also visited this amazing building as saw a a replica of the Albert Pike Monument, which is also featured in Dan Brown’s book. I also wrote about the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. Several other souvenir buildings of Masonic Temples have also been produced. A cast iron miniature of the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia is a reproduction of an 1874 still bank housed in the Masonic Library & Museum within the Temple. Reproduced in 1995, this bank measures approximately 3 by 4 inches square and 4 inches tall with a slot for coins on the roof. Square and compass and reproduction date on base. This reproduction of the antique original is still available on the Masonic Museum gift shop website for $40. InFocus Tech also produces two Masonic souvenir replica buildings. Located in Center City Philadelphia, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was completed in 1873 after five years of construction. Finished in new pewter, this souvenir building stands 3 inches tall and is available here. The real Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania takes in thousands of visitors every year to see the ornate structure where number of Philadelphia lodges and the Grand Lodge conduct their meetings. The massive granite cornerstone, weighing ten tons, was leveled on St. John the Baptist's Day, 24 June 1868. The ceremonial gavel used on that day was same gavel used by President George Washington in leveling the cornerstone of the nation's Capitol building in 1793. The bold and elaborate elevations of Norman architecture and the beautiful Norman portico of Quincy granite make is a distintive building. The exterior stone of the building was constructed of Cape Ann Syenite from Syne in Upper Egypt. Another replica available from inFocus Tech is the Masonic Temple in Chicago. This tall, skyscraper-type temple is located at State and Randolph Streets in Chicago, Illinois, the real building was completed in 1892. This building was designed by Burnham and Root and stood 321 feet tall with 21 floors. The building featured a central court ringed by nine floors of shops with offices above and meeting rooms for the Masons at the very top. These meeting rooms also served as theaters, which contributed to the building's obsolescence - its elevators proved inadequate for these crowds and the building rapidly fell out of favor with commercial tenants. Partly because of this, and also due to the construction of the new State Street subway, which would have necessitated expensive foundation retrofitting, the Chicago Masonic Temple was demolished in 1939 and replaced by a lowly two-story building. Chicago's building height regulations, enacted in 1892, did not allow taller buildings until the 1920s. Today the 31-story Joffrey Tower stands on the site. A pewter replica of the Chicago Masonic Temple by InFocus Tech stands 4-3/4 inches tall and is finished in new pewter. An antique cast iron version of the Masonic Temple in Chicago was also producted as a coin bank and is dated 1892. Antique replicas of the Chicago Masonic Temple sell for about $2000 for the brass version and $700 for cast iron.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have the 1892 brass replica of the masonic temple, with the Fort (1832 commemoration), sitting atop my kitchen cabinets among other family antiques. My parents used it as a doorstop! My father was a Chicago architect, so the bank amused him, but he stubbed his toe on it too many times. Where might I sell this item to interested collectors? Or, is it rare enough to be donated to the Chicago Historical Society?

I-collect said...

I am interested in buying your building. Please contact me a mikzak1@yahoo.com

Best,

Mike

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