Monday, February 11, 2008
About seven miles south of Washington, D.C., on the Potomac River lies the port city of Alexandria, Virginia. One of the oldest cities in the United States, Alexandria was a bustling seaport in its heyday. It was also the halfway point between the new U.S. capital in Washington and Mt. Vernon, the home of America's first president, George Washington.
Washington was, like many of his contemporaries, a Freemason. He became a member in 1752 in the Fredricksburg, Virginia Lodge and remained a Freemason his entire life. In 1793, he and fellow masons laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol. Washington also belonged to the Alexandria Lodge and, four years after his death and shortly after the death of Martha Washington, the lodge began to receive items belonging to the Washingtons. Wanting to ensure the safety of these objects, Freemasons from all over the country banded together and created a memorial association.
In 1923, construction commenced on a memorial temple and was completed in 1932. Located in Alexandria, the George Washington National Masonic Memorial is home to many important artifacts related to the life of Washington as a soldier, farmer, president, and mason. The Masonic Memorial is also home to two lodges: the Andrew Jackson Lodge and the Alexandria Lodge.
The memorial is open for tours seven days a week and includes a final stop on the 9th floor observatory where visitors can enjoy a million dollar view of Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.
Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 2/08