The temple and its surrounding area were later designated as part of the Capitol View Neighborhood Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places (100002063). The Register describes the temple as a Commercial-style building with classical elements composed of brick and marble. It was designed by Robert Smith Pringle in the years before his successful partnership with Francis P. Smith (Pringle & Smith). The first stone was laid September 1921 with the building completed in 1922. The building was named “Capitol View Lodge” because it sat on a small promontory with a view of the state capitol building. Originally, Lodge #640 was home to 550 Masons. The four-story lodge adheres to a tripartite formula with a base, shaft, and crown. The base was constructed for retail space. The second floor (and possibly the third floor) contains office space and the upper floor housed the Mason’s auditorium and ritual space. Only the rear of the side elevation makes all four floors apparent, as the front façade exhibits windows on just three floors.
A Closer Look at Freemasonry
The origins of Freemasonry can be traced back to the local fraternities of stonemasons, which from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of Freemasonry retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, Journeyman or fellow (now called Fellowcraft), and Master Mason. The candidate of these three degrees is progressively taught the meanings of the symbols of Freemasonry, and entrusted with grips, signs and words to signify to other members that he has been so initiated. The initiations are part allegorical morality play and part lecture. The three degrees are offered by Craft (or Blue Lodge) Freemasonry. (Wikipedia)
Square and Compasses, which are joined together, each leg of the compass pointing in opposite directions, is the single most universally identifiable symbol of Freemasonry. The Square is an emblem of virtue in which Masons must "square our actions by the square of virtue with all mankind". The Compasses exemplifies wisdom of conduct, the strength to "circumscribe our desires and keep our passions within due bounds". (Masonic lodge of education).
Capitol View Brethren - Making Good Men Better
Pat Long, Worshipful Master (W.M.) at the Capitol View Lodge says the Bible holds the place of honor inside the Lodge’s meeting room, but Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. According to the basic principles, Freemasonry requires of its members a belief in God as part of the obligation of every responsible adult, but advocates no sectarian faith or practice. Masonic ceremonies include prayers, both traditional and extempore, to reaffirm each individual's dependence on God and to seek divine guidance. Freemasonry is open to men of any faith, but religion may not be discussed at Masonic meetings. (Masonic Service Association of North America.)
When asked to put Freemasonry in simple terms, Pat said, “It’s about making good men better.” Pat recalls when as a kid he first learned about Freemasonry from his father, William (Bill) Long who was a long-time member and a Worshipful Master (2004). Pat was an active volunteer until he reached the age when he could begin his apprenticeship, then he soon followed in his father’s footsteps. Later, when Pat’s son Jason turned 21, he continued the family tradition. Jason said, “I couldn’t wait to become a Lodge member. Back then, the Lodge didn’t have many other members my age, so I was motivated to work through all three degrees at an accelerated pace so I was able to fully participate in all Lodge functions.”
There are at least two other multi-generation lodge families in the Lodge. The Byrd Family includes: Harold Byrd, still an active member at 84 years old, who helped built the current lodge building; and his two sons Steven and Joseph, also active members, both of whom served as Worshipful Masters many times. The Collingsworth Family includes: Lewis, Warren, and J.L., all of whom served as Worshipful Masters.
And then there’s the three walls of portraits in the dining room, displaying the photos of Worshipful Masters in the Capitol View Lodge and the Rico Lodge since they received their charters. While these represent but a few of the Lodge’s members over its 100-year history, the many familiar names of local civic leaders illustrate that this lodge did indeed, make good men better.
These good men worked to make our community better by helping people in time of need. They prepared food boxes, fruit baskets, and gave toys to local kids at Christmas; offered a widows’ fund for the wives deceased Masons in need of assistance; sold bricks to raise funds for the Veterans Park in Palmetto, and gave donations to Community Brickworks to close out the lodge. They also made donations (along with all lodges) to support the Masonic Children’s Home in Macon.
We thank the Capitol View Masonic Lodge for their 106 years of service and wish them well in their new home in Palmetto.
Capitol View Masonic Lodge #640 F. & A. M. - Photo take at the conclusion of last meeting on May 9, 2019.
Pictured left to right: Jason Long, Rocky Rothrock, Steve Byrd, Warren Collinsworth, Pat Long, Harold Byrd,
Joe McAlister, Bill Hart, Jeffrey Collinsworth, Joey Byrd