Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Fotos (April 5, 2013) -- Breaking Ground for the Lonsdale Masonic Temple, Lonsdale, Rhode Island

My great grandfather and great grandmother, Samuel Eber Carpenter and Sarah Etta (Freeman) Carpenter, were participants in the groundbreaking for the Masonic Temple in Lonsdale, Rhode Island on November 22, 1927.  They are both pictured above with the other ceremony participants: Thomas B. Davis; James White; and Rev. W. B. Taylor.  As shown on the reverse side of the original 1927 photograph, the people in the photograph (left to right) are:  my great grandfather, Samuel E. Carpenter; Thomas B. Davis; James White; Rev. W. B. Taylor; and my great grandmother, Mrs. Samuel E. Carpenter [Sarah E. (Freeman) Carpenter].

The back of the photograph does not state the address or specific location of the future Lonsdale Masonic Temple.  An internet search has thus far failed to find any additional information or a photograph of a completed Lonsdale Masonic Temple -- and so it is not even known if the building was ever constructed or completed if begun.  

It is possible that the Lonsdale Masonic Temple fell to the same fate as the Masonic Temple in central Providence that was begun with groundbreaking in 1926.  Construction actually began, but was halted in 1929 around the time the Depression started.  The temple was never completed and was completely abandoned with the outbreak of WWII.  The Providence temple sat on Francis Street opposite the State House and when the Providence Place Mall opened nearby, the Greek Revival-style shell of the building was purchased and developed into a luxury hotel (the Renaissance Providence Hotel), which opened in summer 2007.

If anyone knows if the Lonsdale Masonic Temple was ever completed, I would greatly appreciate additional information -- and a photograph of the building if one exists or if the building still stands (even if no longer used as a Masonic Temple).  I believe, based on the book "History of Freemasonry in Rhode Island" (pp. 575 - 581), that the name of the Lonsdale Masonic Lodge was "Unity Lodge No. 34."  According to the History, in 1891 Unity Lodge had 115 members and among the fourteen officers was my great grandfather, Samuel E. Carpenter (History, p. 581).  There is also a clue that the temple was possibly constructed before the Depression hit, because the lower left corner of the back of the groundbreaking ceremony photograph above appears to indicate the [First?] Meeting might have been held in June 1928.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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  1. Hi John,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!