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Washington Masonic Memorial: 1923

Washington Masonic Memorial: 1923

Nov. 1, 1923. "Dedication, George Washington Masonic Memorial, Alexandria, Virginia." In a year that was probably the zenith of Freemasonry in the United States, and saw a giant national Masonic gathering in the capital, President Coolidge on this day used a silver trowel to spread mortar for the laying of the cornerstone of what is today one of metro Washington's best known traffic landmarks. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


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The Finished Product

Attached is a view of the finished product, taken from the same general vantage point.

As another poster very correctly noted, this temple is "a bit weird" to a non-Mason. There's a great write-up about the temple (complete with photos of the interior)on the "Roadside America" website at:

Masonic View

Ninety years later, the memorial is a neat (if a bit weird to a non-Mason) place to visit. I went there in January with locals who'd never set foot in the place despite having spent the last thirty years in DC.

Comparing the background views, the train station is all but unchanged (though now supplemented with the larger Metro station behind it), but I can't match a single structure in Old Town between the old image and my new one. Not even the church steeples (which I'd expect to have been there in 1923).

Shuter's Hill - Fort Ellsworth

It was occupied in Oct 1861 by the 44th NY Reg't, which was commanded by Col Elmer Ellsworth, the first Union officer to be killed in the war when he was shot by a hotel proprietor after taking down the Confederate national flag from the hotel roof. The photo looks east toward Alexandria and the Potomac river. King Street is at the center.

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