The bronze medallion of R.W. Grand Master Marvin A. Cunningham, Sr., commemorates the 200th anniversary of the time in 1802 when the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, the oldest Masonic jurisdiction in North America, first owned its own building. From its earliest days as a Provincial Grand Lodge in 1731 until it acquired its own building, meetings were held in various places, first in taverns and inns, then in meeting houses. The 2002 commemorative piece reflects Pennsylvania's Masonic history, showing all the places where Grand Lodge has held its meetings.
The 12 meeting places preceding the present Masonic Temple are depicted on the reverse of the four-inch diameter medallion like the numbers on a clock dial, starting with the oldest, Tun Tavern at the bottom and progressing clockwise. Today's Masonic Temple is in the center. Shown in very detailed bronze relief, they are:
1731-1734: Tun Tavern -- This building was situated on what was then King St., now Water St., at the corner of Wilcox which afterward became Tun Alley (as of 1887, Ton Alley), between Chestnut and Walnut Sts. It also was known as "Peggy Mullen's Beefsteak House." The address today is 10 S. Water St.
1773-1748: Indian King Tavern and 1749-1754: Royal Standard Tavern -- Both taverns were located on High St. (now Market St.) below Third, at the corner of Biddle's Alley. The Indian King Tavern was at Market and Bank Streets, to the right of the First Presbyterian Church, and the Royal Standard, at Market near Second St. was to the left.
1755-1768 & 1778-1785: The Freemasons' Lodge -- This building stood on Lodge Alley, west of Second St. and north of Walnut St. The Freemasons' Lodge was the first Masonic building erected and dedicated to Freemasonry in the Western World. The title was held by trustees of the three lodges that were meeting in Philadelphia. It was dedicated by the "Moderns" in 1755 and sold in 1785. It was again occupied by the "Ancients" from 1778 to 1785.
1769-1790: Building in Videll's Alley Meetings were held sporadically in a building in Videll's Alley (afterward Lodge Alley) off Second St. below Chestnut St. It was there that the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania declared its independence from the Grand Lodge of England on September 25, 1786.
1777-1778: The City Tavern -- City Tavern was on the southwest corner of Second and Gold (Moravian) Streets and served as temporary headquarters for the Grand Lodge during the British occupation.
1790-1799: Free Quaker Meeting House -- The building still stands on the southwest corner of Fifth and Arch Streets.
1800-1802: The State House (Independence Hall) -- The lodge room was on the second floor of The State House on the south side of Chestnut St., between Fifth and Sixth Streets. It wasand isa rare distinction to have its stated meetings within a building so sacred in the history of the United States.
1802-1810 & 1819-1820: Pennsylvania Freemasons Hall -- This building was at 814 Filbert St. It was dedicated December 27, 1802.
1811-1819: Masonic Hall -- This Hall, at 225-231 Chestnut St. (now would be 715-719) was dedicated on June 24, 1811 and was destroyed by fire on March 9, 1819.
1820-1835: Masonic Hall -- Masonic Hall was rebuilt at the same location at a cost of $55,333.05 and dedicated on November 1, 1820.
1835-1855: Washington Hall -- This building was situated on the west side of Third St. above Spruce, at what is now 249 South Third St.
1855-1873: "New" Masonic Hall -- Built on the site of the former Masonic Hall at 715-719 Chestnut St., this magnificent Gothic structure was dedicated on September 15, 1855. The cost for building and furnishing it was $185,328.03
1873-Present: Masonic Temple -- The Masonic Temple at One North Broad St., across from Philadelphia's City Hall, is considered one of the wonders of the Masonic world. Since its dedication in 1873, this architectural jewel has attracted hundreds of thousands of brethren and visitors to the Mother City of Freemasonry.