Hamilton Masonic Lodge

Posted by on Aug 29, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Hamilton Masonic Lodge, 43 South Rogers Street, Hamilton, Virginia

Hamilton Masonic Lodge, 43 South Rogers Street, Hamilton, Virginia

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

Hamilton Masonic Lodge

The Hamilton Masonic Lodge in central Loudoun County, Virginia has to be one of the more unusual historic buildings I have seen since I started photographing the buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Once you understand a little bit about the principles of Freemasonry, this narrow three story structure makes perfect sense.

Masonic Lodge #37 was formed in 1868. In its early years the Lodge held its meetings in the Hamilton Town Hall. By 1872 the members of the Lodge decided they needed their own building. A plot of land was purchased on South Rogers Street later that year. John Lamdin of Alexandria was selected as the architect.

Lamdin’s design for the Hamilton Masonic Lodge was in strict accordance with the design principles of Freemasonry. In simple terms, the building needs to be of a rectangular form, situated on an east-west axis with dual entrances and providing for a meeting room on an upper floor. The building should be isolated from all surrounding buildings, where practical. The meeting room itself needs to be rectangular in shape with the east to west side being at least one-third longer than the north to south side. The ceilings should also be lofty to provide a dignified appearance to the hall.

Starting with the stipulations for the meeting room, Lamdin’s design has a large rectangular room measuring 21-feet by 37-feet with a 10-foot ceiling on the third floor. This design was repeated on the two lower stories. Adding the necessary anterooms and stairs results in a total dimension for the building of 24-feet by 48-feet. The Lodge is the only Masonic building in Loudoun County that follows the design principles of the Freemasons.
The building, which was completed in 1873, was constructed by Richard Ruse, a native of Hamilton and noted local carpenter and builder. The Italianate style brick building is finished with an elegant pilaster design and an open belfry.

Hamilton Masonic Lodge, 43 South Rogers Street, Hamilton, Virginia

Hamilton Masonic Lodge, 43 South Rogers Street, Hamilton, Virginia

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

Being that the meeting room for the Lodge could not be on the first floor, the building was used as the first public school in Hamilton. Up until this time, education was provided by a private school, which was the standard practice in Loudoun County at the time. The school was open to anyone between the ages of five and twenty-one. The Hamilton School, occupied the first floor until 1881 when it was expanded to include the second floor. The school continued to occupy the building until 1921 when a new larger school opened.

The Masons continued to meet regularly at the Lodge building until 1953. At this time, with their numbers dwindling, the members found it increasing difficult to maintain the building. The Hamilton Lodge formed a partnership with the nearby Thompson Lodge based in Purcellville, two miles away.

I am not sure what the building is now being used for. However, on the application for National Register of Historic Places for the Hamilton Masonic Lodge it notes some of the work the current owner has undertaken. The building has undergone an extensive restoration replicating many of the original design features. New wiring and plumbing has also been installed.

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