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Twillingate Masonic Temple Municipal Heritage Site

Twillingate Masonic Temple, Twillingate, NL
Twillingate Masonic Temple, Twillingate, NL
Twillingate Masonic Temple, Twillingate, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Description of Historic Place

Twillingate Masonic Temple is a wooden, two-and-a-half storey, steep gable roofed structure. Located on Main Street in Twillingate, NL and built in 1906, this Masonic Temple is constructed and adorned in the tradition of Newfoundland Masonic halls, with elaborate detailing of its exterior. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Twillingate Masonic Temple has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Twillingate due to its aesthetic, historical and cultural values.

Twillingate Masonic Temple is of aesthetic value as it is one of the finest examples of wooden lodge construction on the northeast coast of Newfoundland. It is noteworthy particularly for its exterior detailing. The offset tower gives it something of the character of a church but this impression is disturbed by the ovoid dome which tops the offset tower. Beneath the heavily bracketed eave on the front gable is set a large panel with finely carved Masonic emblems. A renaissance touch is added with the differing window treatments on the first and second storeys. The first storey features windows topped with pediments while second storey windows are topped with fanlights accented by rounded arch mouldings.

Twillingate Masonic Temple has historical value due to its association with the Free Masons, an internationally known fraternal organization. Masons in Newfoundland received their first warrant in 1746. The Twillingate Lodge was constituted in 1889 under the Grand Lodge of England, with the present lodge building being dedicated in 1907. Interestingly, the cornerstone was laid at the same time, as it was not available at the start of construction. The Temple has served Masons in the Twillingate area from the time of its dedication, playing a significant role in the community’s social development.

Twillingate Masonic Temple has cultural value as it is a physical reminder of a time when fraternal organizations played a significant role in many parts of Newfoundland. Membership in such organizations was often a highly sought after honour. Pride in one’s affiliation with the Masons is reflected in the use of Masonic symbolism on the exterior of the Masonic Temple. Located on the main street running through Twillingate, this symbolism speaks directly to Masons and indirectly to other citizens who may not know the exact meaning of the symbols but realize their associations with Freemasonary.

Source: Town of Twillingate Regular Council Meeting Motion 07-205 November 5, 2007.

Character Defining Elements

All those elements which represent the aesthetic, historical and cultural value of Twillingate Masonic Temple, including:
- offset tower with circular window, decorated frieze and ovoid dome;
- steep gable roof;
- heavy cornice moulding on eaves;
- heavily bracketed eaves;
- return on eaves;
- number of storeys;
- narrow clapboard;
- decorative use of clapboard on the bias;
- decorative use of mock exposed beams;
- decorative corner boards;
- window size, style, trim and placement;
- curved arches above upper windows;
- pediments above lower windows;
- size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
- pointed segmental arch with dentils above main entrance;
- main entrance located centrally on front facade;
- transom window on side entrance;
- dimension, location and orientation of building;
- cornerstone which reads “Twillingate Lodge No 2364. R.E. A.F. & AM 1906"
- sign on front gable which reads “Masonic Temple Twillingate Erected 1906 Dedicated 1907"
- large Masonic eye and Masonic insignia on front gable, and;
- association with Freemasons of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Location and History

Community Twillingate
Municipality Town of Twillingate
Civic Address 111 Main Street
Construction 1906 - 1907
Style Victorian Eclectic
Building Plan Rectangular Short Façade
Website Link http://townoftwillingate.ca