Trenton Spotlight
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OLD MASONIC TEMPLE

  • 102 Barrack Street
  • Trenton, NJ 08608
  • Phone: 609-239-3950
  • Artwork Creator: n/a
  • Hours: By appointment
  • Access: Tours available by appointment
  • Image Source: View Image Source
  • Sponsor/Project: n/a
  • Project Date: 1793; 1867

“MASONIC history, not merely in New Jersey, but in America, appears to have had its beginnings in Trenton. When, in 1730, upon the request of Masons living in the Provinces of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the Grand Lodge of England granted a deputation for the first provincial grand master of Masons in America. It was upon a Trentonian, Colonel Daniel Coxe, that the honor was conferred. Again, in 1786, when the Grand Lodge of New Jersey was formed, it was one of Trenton's most distinguished citizens, Chief Justice David Brearley who was selected as grand master. Since then, through all the years to the present time, residents of New Jersey's capital have had an important part in the affairs of the order.” – Trenton Historical Society

“Minutes of the old lodge reveal that for some time, organization meetings apparently were held at the homes of the various members, but in 1789 it was felt that the lodge was growing to such a size that suitable quarters should be obtained for it.

In 1792 a committee composed of Aaron D. Woodruff, Richard Howell, Isaac DeCou and Bernard Hanlon was appointed to report on the expediency of building a hall or lodge room for use of the organization, together with an estimate of its cost . . .

In 1793, Mark Thompson, of Harmony Lodge No. 8, Newton, Sussex County, gave to Trenton Lodge No. 5, a plot of ground on Barrack Street, now known as Willow Street. Mr. Thompson was father-in-law of Mr. Woodruff, first master of Trenton Lodge . . .

On August 19, 1793, the committee announced that everything was in readiness for the laying of the cornerstone which occurred at "high twelve," August 26.

Nineteen years later, Trenton Lodge felt the need for larger quarters . . . In January 1827 the matter of the lodge building was once more before the organization . . . At its April meeting 1860, Trenton Lodge No. 5 unanimously resolved . . . for the construction of a new building. The only result, however, was the building of a brick addition on the side of the old building . . . At the meeting May 6, 1867, a committee was again named to seek more suitable quarters, and John Taylor, a member, offered a long lease for the third floor of Taylor Hall, later known as Taylor Opera House. The lease was taken for five years, and the new rooms were dedicated December 9, 1867, by Most Worshipful Grand Master Silas Whitehead.

The committee reported January 6, 1868 that the old lodge property had been sold. The ancient building passed into friendly hands, and one of the best-known free schools was established there. Thomas J. Macpherson, father of judge George W. Macpherson, was master of the school, which he conducted in this building for five years.” – Trenton Historical Society

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