LODGE TOUR Part 1: "The Early Years"
King Hiram's Lodge was chartered in 1795 with 22 members, who elected John Young as their first Worshipful Master. The first meetings were usually held at the home of Bro. Jonathan Cook who lived in the center of town.
"Mason's House", as it
appears today. Built in 1798 at 119 Bradford Street, the top floor
In 1798 the members voted to build what they termed as a Mason's house. The lumber was sent by whaling ship from Maine and members toted this lumber on their backs to the site where the house was to be erected. This building was to be a two story building with the Lodge meeting room upstairs, while downstairs two separate schoolrooms were constructed, one for boys and the other for girls. The State did not contribute to education in those days, so it was up to the Town to maintain the school. The fisherman who earned the least amount of money fishing the previous year had to teach the boys the following year. Boys were taught how to mend nets, rig trawls, splice ropes, etc., while the girls learned cooking and other domestic arts. This building later became the first Catholic Church in Provincetown and is still standing, now a private residence, at 119 Bradford Street.
Odd Fellows Hall, and in the immediate background Marine Hall, where the Lodge met after leaving the Mason's house.
After the Mason's house was sold in 1845, the next meeting place was Marine Hall, located next to what was then the Odd Fellows Hall at the corner of Winslow Street and Bradford Street. Meetings were held here until 1870, when our present building was completed.
A view of Provincetown's waterfront circa 1876, showing King Hiram's Lodge at left and the Old Town Hall atop High Pole Hill .
The present Lodge Hall was built on Masonic Place and Commercial Street in 1870. Planned for a decade, it was a massive structure, dwarfing nearby buildings. It was a three story building built of Maine oak and finished with mahogany trim in a Second Empire design, which was the rage in Provincetown at the time. The first floor was designed to accommodate two commercial shops to provide a regular income for the Lodge. The second floor featured an enormous banquet hall complete with a stage and dressing rooms which would figure largely in Provincetown's social life well into the 1920's. Aside from it's regular use as a dining hall for Lodge meetings, it was a regular site for concerts, grand Masonic Festivals, and winter dances. After a fire destroyed the original Town Hall on High Pole Hill, Town meetings were held in the Masonic Hall until the present Town Hall was opened in 1886. Following the introduction of silent movies in 1914, the hall was leased by the Zartarian Theatre Group and was used as Provincetown's first movie theater. The top floor contained the Lodge room itself.
Masonic Hall, with the old Town Hall shown in the background, far right. This photo was taken sometime between 1870, when the building was built, and 1877, when the Town Hall on the hill burned to the ground. Note the "fish flakes" in the foreground, a common sight all around Provincetown at the time, where salted cod were laid out to dry.
In this 1890 photograph, the businesses in the Masonic building were
Hezekiah P. Hughes Dry Goods and
Taken sometime around 1910, looking East on Commercial Street.