The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, founded in 1825, was the first black Masonic order organized south of the Mason-Dixon line. It was named in honor of Prince Hall, a Revolutionary War veteran known as the first African American Mason. Its temple, or meeting place, was designed by architect Albert I. Cassell and built between 1922 and 1930. It has been an important social and cultural center for more than 70 years. In addition to the lodges, the building also housed a bowling alley, a ballroom, and a restaurant.

In 1782 Prince Hall of Boston petitioned the Grand Lodge of Ancients in England for permission to establish a "Lodge of Free Negroes," and the petition was granted in 1784. The efforts to create a lodge in the south were initiated by individual Masons from Washington who were inducted into a lodge in Pennsylvania in 1823. Two years later they successfully petitioned the African Grand Lodge of North America to establish Social Lodge No. 7 in Washington. The first officers included Moses Liverpool and William C. Costin. Moses Liverpool helped to found the Bell School in 1807 — Washington's first known private school for blacks. William Costin was an ardent abolitionist.

In 1848 representatives of Social Lodge No. 7 and two other lodges formed the Union Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, later changed to the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge. The building was listed on the DC Inventory of Historic Sites in 1982 and on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.


This template controls the elements:

TOP: Top Links (Home, Donate, Events, Contact), Social Network Buttons, Tagline, Tagline Image

FOOTER: Footer Links (Privacy Policy, Contact, Donate), Footer Descriptions

* This message is only visible in administrative mode