Acacia’s former lodge hall

Acacia_39(Click on picture to enlarge)

The following writeup was taken from the Proceedings of the 57th Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia, 1922 Edition held in Lunenburg N.S.

MW Bro. John Murray Lawson was the Grand Master and the excerpt below is from his address to the Annual Communication. This building must have impressed him very much to go into such detail during his speech.

The dedication of the substantial, elegant and commodious Temple at bridgewater took place on Tuesday evening, January 17th, 1922, and was, one of the largest attended and most imposing events in the history of the fraternity in this jurisdiction. During the day Brethren arrived from all parts of the County, and when the trains from Halifax and Yarmouth arrived this number was materially increased. This Temple is, without exception, one of the most substantial and best fitted for the purpose of any similar structure in the Maritimes, and is at once not only a tribute to the generosity and interest of the members of Acacia Lodge, but is a valuable and handsome asset to the prosperous Town of Bridgewater and the Province of Nova Scotia.

The building commands a prominent position overlooking the LaHave, on Pleasant Street, on the site formerly occupied by the old School House and immediately adjoining the Roman Catholic Church. It is 54 by 64 feet, is three stories in height and is of fireproof construction. The basement is of concrete, the outer walls of stucco with heavy finish around the eaves, the roof being covered with Neponset Shingles.

The entrance to the main building is by a set of massive concrete steps, their ascent being broken by four or five landings with solid concrete railings. Passing through the ponderous front doors leading into a massive hall, opens the reception hall or ball room, 44 by 35, equipped with stage and piano, or orchestra, for concerts or other uses.

The floor is polished hardwood. The ceiling is of steel, finished in dull white, which with white electric chandeliers and walls to match make this a well-lighted, attractive and spacious room for social functions.

The Janitor’s quarters on the lower floor include, kitchen, living room, pantry, dressing rooms and bedroom, with every convenience. Here are also installed two furnaces, used singly or coupled, which supply steam heating for the entire building. Access is made to the basement through a ticket office, connected with the gymnasium, 52 by 27, without the usual supporting posts generally found in such buildings, allowing free use for Games, Bowling, etc.

Flanking the ball room on the right and extending the entire length of the building is a wide hallway, wainscotted with stained grained native wood, from which opens a ticket office, emergency room, 18 by 21, a club room of the same dimensions, a ladies’ cloak room, 9 by 12, and a small reception room, into which runs a dumb waiter from the kitchen in the basement.

On the left of the front entrance is a billiard room, 14 by 26. The wall and ceilings of these rooms are white and all the floors of polished hardwood.

Leading from the front hall to the second floor above is a spacious stairway contructed of polished Nova Scotia birch. At the top, left, is a library or reading and smoking room, 15 by 25. A hall extends the full length of the building.

On the left is the Lodge Room. On the right open successively, a reception or waiting room, 12 by 15, with dumb waiter to basement, an examination room, a preparation room for the chapter, a preparation room for the Blue Lodge and a clothes room for paraphernalia, etc. The floors here are of polished hardwood. Double doors, a short distance from the head of the stairway are so arranged that admission to the Lodge room during session is closed.

The crowning glory of the building is the Lodge Room which is a real work of art. The woodwork is of finest American oak. The 16 pure white massive panels in the ceiling curved to meet the walls which are coloured to match the finish and give to this room a cosy effect. Two concealed ventilators in the ceiling, a central chandelier and eight side lights with six large windows provide light by day or night and plenty of fresh air.

Blue blinds and blue velour curtains are at the windows. Brussels carpet figured in 6 inch light and dark blue squares, completely covers the floor and raised dais surrounding the room. The trestle board (immediately in front of the altar) consisting of over 200 squares of polished wood with a centre, star shaped surrounded by a circle, was constructed and presented by Boehner Bros., LaHave.

The furniture is of American oak stained to match the finish of the room. The covering of settees and chairs is of blue moose-hide to match the colour scheme in blinds, curtains and carpets.

The dedication service opened sharply at 8 o’clock, the immense Lodge room being filled to capacity. By actual count before the entrance of the Grand Lodge members there were 375 present, so that during the ceremony more than 400 took part.

It was stated that every member of Acacia was present (240) with the exception of the Wor. Master, Rev. F. H. Eaton, whose illness conpelled him to remain at home and whose absence was sincerely regretted; and two others. the Lodge was opened and in charge of Sr. Warden, A. H. Vaughan. the solemn, attractive and appropriate ceremonies were carried out in due form, myself presiding, being ably assisted by Grand Secretary, Jones, and other members of the Grand Lodge. Every Brother watched the proceedings with the heartiest interest, which greatly added to the beauty and impressiveness of the service.

After the ceremony, appropriate addresses were delivered by the Grand Lodge officers and others, each and all expressing their great satisfaction at the magnificent structure, which is in every way adapted for the purpose of Acacia Lodge…