A Pictorial Tour of the Old Lodge Hall

The Market House 1933, Lodge No. 43 F&AM – Lancaster, PA


Prior to the 1930’s there are no available pictures of the interior of the Old Lodge Room built during the years of 1798-1800 as the second floor of the Market House at Penn Square.

There were a half dozen building modifications that took place in the years that followed from 1800 extending up to 1933. However, within the artifacts and documents on file in the archives of Lodge 43 there are no pictorial references of any of these renovations.

In spite of the many well documented historical events that took place in the lodge; General Lafayette’s two day visit, former President Howard Taft’s visit, as well as various Grand Master visitations all which included great formal banquets in the building, photographs did not record any of these major historic Masonic functions and events.

It wasn’t until the major renovation of 1932-1933 which included the complete renovation of the Lodge Room; featuring the hand painted ceiling mural by John Bagattin and G.L. Zambone that photographic records become part of the historical record.

The Bagattin, Zambone ceiling mural became, and remains the historical masterpiece where all the attention was, and continues to be the focus of the glorious Old Lodge Room. Many photographs at that time hi-lighted the beauty of the overall Old Lodge Room and “Majesty Triumphant” ceiling mural.

Receiving much less attention and recognition was the Old Lodge Building itself. With the 1932-1933 renovations; and prior renovations the building had grown to three stories, as well as expansions that now encompassed an entire city block down West King Street. Private Masonic entrances, banquet room facilities, and additional office space now provided Lodge 43 with the amenities it required for its growing membership, and as the premier Masonic Lodge in District 1.

Photographic records for these other important aspects of the Old Lodge Building still appear to be very limited. Fortunately, within our preservation of historical records there exists a very nice black and white photographic record of the other features of the Old Lodge Hall.

The majority of us have most probably never had the opportunity to experience the Old Lodge Hall in all its masonic glory. Our older members still have fond memories and can only tell us of their enjoyment in meeting regularly in this grand old historic building.

We are fortunate that we can share these old black and white photographs with you in this paper. In them, you will recognize furniture, pictures and artifacts that were part of the Old Lodge Hall and remain a part of the décor, Einolf Museum, and our Lodge Room today! They will provide you with a small window of the glorious interior of the Old Lodge Hall.

I sincerely hope you enjoy these photos from our past!
So Mote It Be!

Nathaniel Gilchrist, PM
Lodge 43 Historian

Lodge 43 Private Entrance to the Old Lodge Room

The private entrance on 13 West King Street for Lodge 43. Prior to this, the only entrance to the second floor Lodge Room was through the entrance of the City Offices on the first floor of the building. This entrance was part of the renovation project of 1856 whereby a three story addition was built on 2 vacant lots purchased by Lodge 43. This entrance is still visible today but is not used for any formal activities that may be scheduled on the second floor. Note: The arches on the right side of the picture were a very featured architectural part of the initial building plan.

The Entrance Foyer Inside the 13 West King Street Entrance

This was the inside of the private entrance for Lodge 43 as of 1856. The stairway led to the second floor Lodge Room. Note the beauty of the woodwork and wall décor.

The Top of the Steps from the Entrance Way Foyer

Ten stair steps to the second floor Lodge Room. The artifact that is on display at the top of the stairs still exists today at the Masonic Center and is located on the 2nd floor lobby of the auditorium. It is a medal lamp dated around the 19th century.

Second Floor Landing at Top of the Steps

This picture shows the second floor leading. On the right side of the picture are the steps to the third floor. The entrance through the doorway is the dining area. The pictures on the far wall are the Lodge 43 Past Master pictures which are now displayed in the Tyler Room at the Masonic Center.

Stair Way from the Second Floor to the Third Floor

Note the beauty of the woodwork which is still evident at the building.

Stair Way Looking Up to the Third Floor

The tablet that appears at the top of the steps is the World War I Veterans Plaque. All Lodge 43 Masons, or their sons, who served in WWI are recognized on this metal plaque. Today this plaque is proudly displayed in the Albert Einolf Museum at the Lancaster Masonic Center

Stair Way Looking Down from the Third Floor to the Second Floor Steps

The second floor landing would be to the left of the stairs. The framed print is a popular and valuable print known as “The Iron Worker and King Solomon”. This print is on display at the Lancaster Masonic Center.

The Tyler’s Room – Second Floor

The Tyler’s Station is still very much in use at the Lancaster Masonic Center today. Wall décor includes a Buchanan Plaque, Past Master oil paintings, beautiful wall cabinetry and storage drawers. The doorways lead from the west to the Lodge Room and Preparing Room.

The Tyler’s Room Wall Portraits

The oil painted portraits represent two of Lodge 43’s most esteemed Brothers; Jeremiah Moser Past Master, and Robert Moderwell Past Master. The portraits are now displayed in the Albert Einolf Museum at the Lancaster Masonic Center and are among the most highly valued artifacts of Lodge 43

The Tyler’s Room

Pictured in this photograph of the Tyler’s Room is what was used as an apron stand for the members to retrieve their apron before entering the Lodge Room. The right door with the Masonic Knocker is the entrance to the Lodge Room. The three dimensional framed display of the working tools is dated at 1869. The work was created by S. Strachan of Washington DC. The tools were carved out of a cedar branch that once grew over the tomb of George Washington in Mount Vernon. It is currently on display in the Albert Einolf Library on the 4th floor of the Masonic Center in Lancaster.

Doorways from the Tylers Room to Preparing Room to Lodge Room

From the Preparing Room to the Lodge Room

A very familiar picture to all who have travelled this same road. Note the carpet that was once on the floor of the Lodge. This picture is looking to the East and the Station of the Worshipful Master.

The Lodge 43 Lodge Room

Lodge 43 in all its majestic glory. The first picture is looking to the West and the station of the Senior Warden. The second picture is looking to the East towards the Station of the Worshipful Master. Note the three Lesser Lights still in use today.

The Original Museum

This photograph shows a picture of what was the original museum. Note the George Washington Carved Statue in the upper right area of the photo. Also note the beautiful flooring.

The Officers Chairs on Display in the Museum

The handmade Officers Chairs estimated to be around the 1820’s time period. Uniquely hand painted Officer Tools individualized on each chair. Very valuable artifacts are on display in the Einolf Museum at the Masonic Center. Note the chair on first row lower left represents the chairs still used today in the Blue Room and reflecting the Freemason symbol. Also our George Washington carving is viewable in the background.

The Officers Chairs and the George Washington Statue

The handmade Officers Chairs displayed with the George Washington Statue. The George Washington Statue is currently on permanent loan to Masonic Villages and on display in the lobby of the auditorium at the Visitors Center. Estimated to be over 200 years old and to this day, the carver has never been identified, the date he carved it, and how the Lodge got possession of it. One of the very unique mysteries in the Lodge history. Note the spittoons in the lower left corner.

The Original Lodge Library

The Library was small in comparison to the Albert Einolf Library at the Lancaster Masonic Center. The pictures on the wall reflect Past Master photos now on display in the Tyler Room at the Masonic Center. The table and chairs still used in the office on the second floor at the Masonic Center.

The Banquet Room

The Banquet Room was used extensively for dining, refreshments, and events. It was also used as a classroom for the School of Instruction. The kitchen was in the rear of the room. Past Master photos made up the wall décor. Take notice of Windsor chairs that were used for seating, and no record of what became of them. The piano in the background is a Beckwith Concert Grand Chicago dated 1869. It still used in the Blue Room at the Lancaster Masonic Center and used periodically to play the National Anthem at Stated Meetings.

This concludes our “pictorial tour” of the Old Lodge Hall. The majority of the artifacts in these photographs are still in use today at the Lancaster Masonic Center and Lodge 43. The history of this Old Lodge Hall is well documented and available to all on the Lodge 43 website, and in print in our Lodge 43 Anniversary Books which are available in the Albert Einolf Library. Lodge 43 is rich in history in receiving our warrant in 1785 shortly after as a country we received our independence. The list of members reflects a “Who’s Who” of prominent men who helped to shape this country, Lancaster, and Lodge 43.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed this look back to the Old Lodge Hall!

Nathaniel Gilchrist, Past Master
Lodge 43