On Saturday after sleeping in late, making some phone calls and reading the paper, I felt I should get out of the house and do something with my day. I headed down to Alexandria to the G.W. Masonic Memorial. This is a beautiful building which I had passed by countless times and looked at, thinking, one day I'll visit.
The building was completed in 1923 and was styled after Greek and Roman architecture with the tower based on the lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It's the only masonic temple in the U.S. that is maintained by a group of lodges. The building is in honor of George Washington built by a Fraternity as he was himself a freemason and believed that 'the grand object of Freemasonry was to promote the happiness of the human race.'
There is marble throughout the building, in the rooms, the stairways and in this theater which holds events open to the public. First I knew of it!
This room is actually used for lodge meetings and holds a lot of G.W. mementos, including his apron above, which he wore when laying the final piece of the Capitol. Today, no one is sure which piece that is and our guide thought that this was the subject of Dan Brown's latest book, The Lost Symbol.
This room in the tower pays homage to George Washington, with displays illustrating his life from birth to death. It even had his will there and newspapers documenting his death.
The photos above are of rooms in the tower dedicated to different lodges. I was eager to reach the observation tower and see the view which I was expecting to be spectacular. The elevators that we rode in were unusual as they tilted at 7.5 degrees so at the bottom ,they were 58ft apart, yet at the top, only 8ft apart. And, built by Otis Elevator.
This was the best view from the top, looking straight down through Olde Town Alexandria to the Potomac River with Maryland over the other side.
And woo hoo, a pentagram. We all know that the pentagram is fundamentally a life symbol, but it still has an ominous feel to it thanks to its misuse, and it did seem a little creepy to see it on the floor with candle stands, evoking images of hooded ceremonies and chanting!
This is a spectacular building and anyone who is a George Washington fan, like me, should pay this a visit. It is much bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside, and be sure to do the full tour and not just the trip to the observation deck, which for me was the least interesting part.