Site Updated 2019-04-26
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Historic Trenton Masonic Temple
Welcome to the
History of the Trenton Masonic Temple
The Historic Trenton Masonic Temple located on Barracks Street is across the street from the Old Barracks and sits on ground where the battle of Trenton was fought. The small fieldstone building next to it is the first Masonic Temple built in New Jersey erected in 1793.
On May 8, 1926 ground was broken to start the erection of the new Masonic Temple. After five months work had progressed enough to have a cornerstone laying ceremony on October 9, 1926. Brother James Morris a member of Trenton Lodge #5 was awarded the contract to construct the new temple. His proposal was to furnish “all labor and materials required for the construction, complete, of the Masonic Temple Building…for the sum of: six hundred ten thousand one hundred eleven dollars”.
The building is three stories high and has a full basement. The first floor was designed to have a grand parlor, a library, a game room, offices and rest rooms. The second floor contains three lodge rooms the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian each designed to represent that particular architectural style. The basement once housed a large dining room and kitchen and will be rennovated for future use as such.
As the home of Freemasons emphasis was made to give the neo-classical design Temple an impressive and solid appearance thus an emphasis was made to use stone wherever possible. The Temple was the first building in Trenton to be clad in Indiana limestone. The structure sits on a gray granite base. Six massive Doric columns supported the central tympanum of the entry portico with symmetrical wings flanking either side.
Inside the large foyer has walls and arches of Botticino marble which “typify the age and solidity of the Masonic order.” The floor is of Travertine marble inset with brass symbols of Masonry. The walls are plaster decorated with faux painting to represent Caen stone and marble. Throughout the Temple interior one can find emblems of the Fraternity decorating the rooms. Numerous hand painted murals adorn the walls depicting the tenents of Freemasonry such as Justice, Fortitude, Prudence, Temperance and Brotherly Love.
In all of the main rooms the coffered ceilings are made of hand molded plaster, hand painted with designs that reflect other elements of the room and Masonic symbols.
In 2004 the Masonic Grand Lodge of New Jersey, embarked on a multimillion dollar preservation/restoration project to preserve and restore this grand Temple to its original beauty. With the assistance of a large grant from the NJ Historic Preservation Trust, work was begun to renovate the Temple to modern building codes at the same time restoring the original details and features. With great effort, this work was completed in 2009.
In 2010 the Grand Lodge of New Jersey and Grand Master’s offices returned to a newly renovated space in the Temple.
In preserving any historic building for future generation, restoration work is an ongoing process. Such is true for both the old and new Trenton Temples. Through the generosity and effort of the New Jersey Freemasons, we have been able to preserve our heritage and will continue work to keep both the old and new Trenton Masonic Temples alive and well for many years to come.