The massive wooden hulk of this meeting hall is out of scale with its mostly residential neighbors, at least partly because of its numerous additions. The lodge was initiated in 1749, and foundations for this temple may have been started as early as 1760 from plans drawn up by Peter Harrison. There was, however, nothing above street level until the 1803 building was constructed (by J. Cahoone and Sons, a local builder) at the corner of School and Church streets, to a different design. This structure was subsumed and augmented innumerable times as the lodge continued to grow in the nineteenth century, reaching its present configuration by 1887. The allusions to a masonry fortification in the flat-topped entry tower, fringed with carpentered crenellations and flanked by two projecting, gabled wings, may be a visual reference to Solomon's Temple, the historic edifice that is central to Masonic rites. Although no longer used as a Masonic lodge, it is the oldest such building in Rhode Island and the fourth oldest in the United States.
You are here
St. Johns Lodge Masonic Temple
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.