Thursday, September 18, 2008

old Masonic lodge

Built in 1890, this humble-yet-amazing building at the corner of 14th and U Streets was once the new location for the Anacostia Lodge, originally located at the corner of 6th Street and Virginia Ave SE (since paved over as the site of the SE Freeway). It's interesting to think of the lodge moving from Capitol Hill to Anacostia. They must have thought "let's move to the best neighborhood in town". Or rather, outside of town, as it was then considered a separate village.

A description of the building from the Washington Post article "It Has Prospered", from July 2, 1890:
“We will now have a home of which we will be proud,” said John H. King, secretary of the lodge, to a Post reporter. “It will cost in the neighborhood of $14,000. The building will be three stories, and the first or ground floor will be a public hall with stage complete, and dressing rooms beneath the stage. The second story will be fitted up in good style as a lodge room to rent to other organizations, and the third floor will be the Masonic hall. Each of the lodge rooms will be 31 by 60 feet in the clear.”
I don't know what it is about old newspaper clippings and photographs. They really fascinate me. Just thinking about all the history - the mostly pretty simple history - of our streets is an interesting way to value what we still have.

This photo from around 1918 shows some kids on what looks like a Fourth of July float going down 14th Street (then Pierce Street) toward Good Hope. Remarkable.



I wonder what happened to the third floor... seems odd that it would have been completely lopped off. The 1921 aerial here vaguely shows another lost feature - some sort of tower on the front left side of the building.

Sadly, some of the houses shown in the older photo are also gone: demolished to make way for parking lots.

old photo courtesy of the National Photo Company Collection


Unknown said...

David, One day you should bring some of these old photos to the HABA meeting to show neighbors what our hood used to look like. This will help in the understanding of protecting what we have left. We have to hold on!

Anonymous said...

How does marveling at this building reconcile with your suggestion to make U street through the elementary school possible?

David Garber said...

this building pre-dates the cut-through's elimination. Right now, U Street still passes by the building, but dead-ends at the back left end of the building. so, rebuilding the road would have no effect on this building.

Skyman said...

The third floor was damaged in a fire and was deemed too expensive to repair. I'll try to find the date for you.

Douglas Andrew Willinger said...

Was this actual building moved to accomdate the freeway, or simply the location of where the masonic lodge meetings held, changed from one building to another?