The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in Philadelphia

A long time ago Victor gave me a booklet about the Freemason lodge. It’s taken over a decade to finally get there. If you ever have extra time in Philly and are a history and architecture buff – check it out. Quite a few US Presidents have been masons: George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Gerald Ford to name a few.


The Freemasons are a fraternal organization which traces their origins to local fraternities of stonemasons. Members of the organization are called Masons. You can read about them here.



Grand Lodges are sovereign bodies that govern in a given country, state, or area. There is no single body that governs over the Freemason worldwide.




The Grand Lodge of Philly was constructed in 1873. It’s been referred to as one of the great wonders of the Masonic world. Each rooms theme is based on an architectural ancient wonder of the world. Tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday.



Membership state side has been declining but growing in some countries overseas. Recognized chapters of Masons do not accept women is what we were told on the tour.



Someone on the tour asked about the relationship between the Mormons and the Freemasons.

Joseph Smith, his older brother Hyrum, and possibly his father were Freemasons when they lived near Palmyra, NY. In the 1820s, anti-Masonic fervor swept through the western region of New York. By 1840, Joseph Smith and other prominent Latter Day Saint members have become Masons and founded a lodge in Nauvoo, Illinois. Smith remained a Freemason until his death. Later on, leaders in the Latter Day Saints distanced themselves from Masonry. Today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) holds no position for or against Masonry and LDS doctrine.



You have to believe in God or a spiritual higher being in order to become a member.



The earliest known American lodges were in Pennsylvania. After the American Revolution, independent US Grand Lodges formed within each state.




The number is not exactly known but it is estimated that between 80,000 and 200,000 of Freemasons were killed under the Nazi regime. Masonic concentration camp prisoners wore an inverted red triangle and were treated as political prisoners.


No fraternal secrets are given during this tour. They tell you about the history of the building and explain the architecture. The guide, who is a Mason member, answers 3 questions anyone asks.



Each Grand Lodge is independent. They do not always see each other as being legitimate. There is no worldwide Grand Lodge that supervises them all.




15 thoughts on “The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in Philadelphia

  1. Long ago on a flight to Pittsburgh I got stuck, um, I mean, seated next to a guy who said the Masons secretly governed the US and ran the banks, major corporations, and news media outlets. I guess I looked skeptical, because he pulled out a book on “the Masonic Conspiracy” and proceeded to show me proof. Never was I so happy to land in Pittsburgh! 🙂

    But the temple you visited is gorgeous. Do they rent it out for events? A popular place for shows and conventions in my town is the Scottish Rite Temple, which I found out is a Masonic lodge. It too is an ornate building, though nowhere close to the Grand Temple in Philadelphia. What a cool tour!

  2. Thanks for tasking me with you on that tour, it’s so interesting to read about the grand lodge… but I still wonder why they only accept guys… I never found an concrete answer… maybe because women talk to much and can’t keep the secrets?

  3. Hmm in all my visits to Philly I have never gotten round to seeing the grand lodge,maybe next time.
    There is a female version of the masons in the UK called The Order Women Freemasons,and there are some others in the US one is called The Eastern Star,but it is very religious almost like a cult,xx Rachel and Speedy

  4. Freemasons and their secret circle has always been fascinating! And I have to day this building is speculator! All the details and grandness of it is just – wow.. Too bad they didn’t hand out any fraternal secrets:)

  5. These are some great shots. The history of the Freemasons is fascinating because of all the great historical leaders and members they had…and to see the elegance of these lodges add another layer. Very cool, thank you.

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