We wondered: What exactly is Freemasonry? What role does this temple have in the lives of Nicetown-Tioga residents, if any, and what role did it play in the past? And could this be a possible story?
We wanted to know exactly what we were looking at, so we did some research. It turns out that Freemasonry is, according to the United Grand Lodge of England, “one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies.” It is of obscure origin, but arose somewhere around 1600 A.D. It is for men only, and members must believe in a supreme being and be of “good repute.” The three essential principles of the Freemasons are brotherly love, relief and truth.
Prince Hall, for whom the structure is named, is considered to be the Father of Black Masonry in the United States, according to the Prince Hall website. His birth, country of origin, and early life remain a mystery. On the eve of the outbreak of the American Revolution, Hall and fourteen other freemen were initiated into a Boston Masonic lodge. They were the first black men to become Freemasons in the U.S., and their induction is considered to be the beginning of Black Freemasonry. The Masonic Temple in Nicetown-Tioga was one of many named for Prince Hall.
emblem represent virtue and wisdom, and the
“G” that (sometimes) accompanies the symbol
represents the centrality of God.