The George Washington Masonic National Memorial stands as the most distinguished monument to Washington ever built by a private organization. Erected in the 1920s and 30s, it soars 333 feet as a beacon of Light and knowledge, educating and inspiring all who visit it. Recognized in 2015 as a National Historic Landmark, the Memorial is one of the most impressive and iconic buildings in the area around our nation’s capital. Our new fundraising endeavor, The Landmark Century Campaign, aims to support a thorough restoration of the Memorial. And you can help!
The George Washington Masonic National Memorial stands as the most impressive private monument to Washington in the world. Erected in the 1920s and 30s, it soars 333 feet as a beacon of Light and knowledge, educating and inspiring all who visit it. Recognized in 2015 as a National Historic Landmark, the Memorial is one of the most impressive and iconic buildings in the area around our nation’s capital.
Gathered in Alexandria in 1910, Masonic leaders from around the United States determined that they would “erect and maintain a suitable Memorial Temple to George Washington the Mason.” They intended it to express “in durability and beauty” the inestimable Masonic esteem for Brother Washington.
They accomplished their goal. After much planning and fundraising, the cornerstone of the building was laid on November 1, 1923. Over fourteen thousand Freemasons and their families came to Alexandria to celebrate the birth of the Memorial. It was an impressive national Masonic event, unparalleled in the history of the Craft. Since that time, the Memorial has stood as a true beacon of Masonic Light. Situated near our nation’s capital, through the decades it has been able to inspire millions with its beauty, and to communicate its positive and undying message.
Today, the Memorial is a museum like no other in the world. Everything we do revolves around our vision: “to inspire humanity through education to emulate and promote the virtues, character and vision of George Washington, the Man, the Mason, and Father of our Country.” Open seven days a week, the Memorial offers detailed exhibits and guided tours that teach the general public about George Washington, his life and virtues, and the role that Freemasonry played throughout his life. Further, the Memorial is an important space for the performing arts, social gatherings, public events, and educational seminars. And, of course, it is an active Masonic temple, housing two Craft lodges and regularly hosting visiting lodges from around the country. The Memorial is a central hub connecting Masons to one another, and connecting the Craft to the public, our nation, and our world.
For the past decade, the Memorial Association has devoted tremendous energy and resources to the renovation of the Memorial. Major exhibits have been added. Interiors have been repaired and repainted. Lighting has been updated. But the most considerable work is the top-to-bottom restoration of the building itself—the first such renovation since the Memorial was completed nearly a century ago. Beginning at the Memorial’s pyramid level, we have begun a multi-year project to perform all needed structural repairs. Stone by stone, we are repointing the mortar and protecting the building from water penetration. When completed, the building will be in better than new condition. Your generous help is essential in reaching that goal. [See our Restoration Update blog to check our progress.]
As a National Historic Landmark, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial prepares to move into its second century. A few years from now, in 2023, the Memorial will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the laying of its cornerstone. By focusing our restoration efforts on completion by 2023, we seek to honor both the past and the future. By becoming part of our Landmark Century Campaign, you can provide the support so essential to that success.
In the next two years, our projects include major repairs and important enhancements:
The Memorial’s Exterior. After completing major renovation of the pyramid level, ninth floor Observation Deck, and eighth floor Chapel, we will be directing our attention downward, performing needed exterior restoration on the seventh, sixth, and fifth floors.
The Memorial’s Interior. We will continue to restore and enhance the inside of the Memorial. A major project about to begin is the restoration of the large murals in Memorial Hall. Painted by the renowned artist, Bro. Allyn Cox, these images of George Washington celebrating Saint John’s Day in 1778 and laying the cornerstone of the United States Capitol in 1793 require conservation in order to be available for future generations.
The Memorial’s Grounds. The long-planned granite cladding will be added to the pylons in front of the Memorial. Another important change will be the addition of a new, direct sidewalk through the plaza at street level. Originally specified in the 1920s by landscape architect Bro. Carl Rust Parker, the sidewalk will better connect the Memorial to the city of Alexandria, promoting increased tourism and greater awareness of the Memorial and its programs, as well as improving public safety at the intersection.
The best way to help the Landmark Century Campaign is to take the Patron Pledge. Those who have taken the Patron Pledge so far are shown below: