Monday, October 11, 2010

Freemasons Should Rule The World

It is hard to top the Philadelphia City Hall, but the Masonic Temple right across the street comes pretty damn close. Construction started in 1868, with the castle like structure being finished in about 10 years. After that the interior design started and lasted another 30 years. What they accomplished is nothing short of amazing.

The 7 main lodges were each designed in a different style and by a different architect: Renaissance, Ionic, Morrish, Corinthian, Gothic, Egyptian, and Norman. With very few exceptions, everything is rendered in plaster and then painted and grained. Even though many of these styles are most closely associated with religious buildings, and many of the rooms resemble the insides of temples, all religious symbols are conspicuously absent. Masons are a nondenominational organization and so left them out on purpose.

The pictures that follow are eye-popping, but don't come close to giving you the experience of being in the building. Not only is it all plaster but there has never been any interior restoration. In some places you can see the paint chipping from the plaster – it is very minor. The tour guide told me this started when they installed a modern air conditioning system. Prior to that, cooling was done by fans blowing over large blocks of ice. The exterior is granite, I think, and went through a major restoration about a decade ago.

In the Gothic Room, the furniture pre-dates the building. This is all from the original Masonic Hall in Philadelphia, which burned to the ground. The 2 portraits are that of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, noted Masonic brothers. Several of the stained glass windows and ceilings are back-lit because they don't really have access to natural light. Once inside the building you quickly become disoriented as to where you are in the building.

The balusters and newel posts are cast iron. Stairs and floors are marble.

It doesn't show in the picture, but this ceiling is high relief, carved and painted plaster, as is everything, of course. The amount of labor that went in to these rooms is astounding.


Hayduke said...

Actually Freemasons HAVE ruled the world for almost 1000 years.

Greg said...

I was waiting for that response. What took so long!


Eastlake Victorian said...

I've really been enjoying your posts on Philadelphia. What great architecture. It must feel good to get away from Eureka after all that wonderful work you've been doing at home. BTW, your stairs turned out great.

Greg said...

I hope others are enjoying it as well. It really is a wonderful city. An thanks for the comment on the stairs. It is nice to be able to enjoy them without having to work on them.

Buffalo Bill said...

Nice photos. I have been to the Grand Lodge of Pensylvainia before and it looks just like I remember.
The Grand Lodge in Chigago is pretty impressive as well.

I always laugh when someone posts something about Freemasonry and the first poster to show up is a consiracy theorist with inaccurate facts..LOL

Greg said...

The tour guide was a Freemason along with one of the gentlemen on the tour. They talked about other lodges worth visiting and the Chicago lodge was mentioned. One more reason to visit Chicago.

Hayduke said...

Well now Buff I am sorry I was a little too trite there, but it IS true that many of most powerful people in the world have been Freemasons. Not a conspiracy at all, but this is simply a fact.

For the anyone wanting to know more about the fascinating history of Freemasonry, I recommend highly the book "The Freemasons" by Jasper Ridley.

Greg said...

Let's all play nice now.

My personal take on it is that there is no conspiracy of the Freemasons. Rather than the Freemasons trying to gather powerful men to try and rule the world, it is that in history world leaders have been drawn to the Freemasons. It is no different than industry leaders networking at a conferences or the Chamber of Commerce these days.

Frankly, the Freemasons is a fine organization and I wouldn't mind being a brother myself. At the same time, I have no wish for world domination.

If you look at something long enough, you can find conspiracies anywhere. In our area The League of Woman Voters hosts all political debates. Perhaps there is a conspiracy there. Maybe they are trying to sway political opinion by slanting the questions to favor their own political agenda, what ever that may be.


Debbie said...

Beautiful photos!! I wish my ceilings looked like that!