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About our lodge

A Building for the Present and Future Preserves the Past

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976,
the Lexington Masonic Building has consistently played a major role in the educational, religious and social history of the Town of Lexington since 1822. This building, which is the home of Simon W. Robinson Lodge and other Masonic-affiliated organizations, occupies a prominent site opposite the Battle Green in the Historic District of Lexington.

The old Normal School building was purchased on behalf of the Lodge by Richard Engstrom, a member. On July 17, 1917, Brother Engstrom deeded the real estate, at its original cost, to the Lexington Masonic Associates, which had been organized to receive and hold the property. The first meeting of the Lodge in the new "Masonic Temple" was held at the time of its dedication on June 24, 1918.

This building is one of the landmarks of America, for within its walls were conducted the experiments which ushered in a new era in education, one of the greatest steps ever taken in the development of our free public school system.

In 1822, on land purchased for the purpose, a building was erected for the use of the Lexington Academy. The Charter from the State stated that the Academy was "for the purpose of promoting religion and morality and for the education of youth in... the liberal arts and sciences..." The school lasted but eleven years and then closed down.

The property was sold in 1833 to Austin Chittenden, who no doubt made use of the building in conjunction with his clock manufacturing business. In 1835, the building was taken over by the Lexington Manual Labor Seminary. Thus one of the first attempts at instruction in the manual arts and industry was made in this building. The "Trade School" lasted only until 1837.

Did you know?

A Mason from this lodge helped restore the bells at The Old North Church in Boston?

The Normal School Under the leadership of Horace Mann, the first normal school in America was opened in this building on July 3, 1839, for the purpose of instructing young men and women how to teach. The experiment was a success and the need for larger quarters required the school to move to Newton in 1844 and to Framingham in 1853.

Historic Hall For a brief period, the building was used as a private school and was then cut up into tenements. A grocery store occupied the first floor for a time. In 1868, the property was deeded to the Hancock Congregational Society and was remodeled for church purposes. In 1893, the Church moved to its new quarters and the building, again, was remodeled for general assembly purposes. Mr. Banta's dancing school used the facility and early 'moving pictures' were shown there. Such general use continued until 1917 when "Historic Hall" became the property of the Lexington Masonic Associates.