Twillingate Masonic Temple is a two-and-a-half storey fraternal building. Sitting on an open grassy lot on Main Street in Twillingate, NL, this wooden structure is built in the Classic Revival tradition of many Masonic buildings. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Registered Heritage Structure
Twillingate Masonic Temple was been designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1998 due to its aesthetic, historic and cultural value.
Twillingate Masonic Temple was built as a meeting place for the Freemasons, an international fraternal organization. Freemasons in Newfoundland received their first warrant in 1746. The Twillingate Lodge was constituted in 1889, with permission from the Grand Lodge of England. Until the Twillingate Masonic Temple was built, members met in in the local court house (now no longer standing). Construction of the Temple began in 1906, with Joshua Roberts as builder. Poor conditions prevented the ceremonial laying of the cornerstone at the beginning of construction. Rather unusually, the rest of the wooden building was built around the gap and the cornerstone put into place with proper Masonic ceremony during the dedication of the completed building in 1907. The Temple has served Freemasons in the Twillingate area ever since. When not in use for Masonic meetings, the building hosts a variety of community events from craft fairs to concerts.
Twillingate Masonic Temple is an unique example of Classically-influenced vernacular architecture in a wooden building. The Classical Revival style is typical for Masonic Temples, including the Masonic Temple in St. John’s (also a Landmark Registered Heritage Structure). Classical elements on Twillingate’s Masonic Temple, such as pedimented raincaps, are intended as a visual link to the supposed ancient history of the Freemasons. An offset tower gives this secular building the solemnity of a church. It is topped by an ovoid dome, an Orientalist ornamentation not uncommon in Masonic buildings. Beneath the heavily bracketed eave on the front gable is a large panel with finely carved Masonic emblems: the Square and Compasses and the All-Seeing Eye. The first storey windows are crowned with pediments, while second storey windows are topped with fanlights accented by moulded arches. Some original ornamentation, such as decorative clapboard on the bias, has been removed from the front facade over the years. Other than these minor modifications, and the later addition of a kitchen and a fire escape, the structure has changed little since its construction.
Twillingate Masonic Temple is a physical reminder of a time when fraternal organizations played a significant role in many parts of Newfoundland. The Freemasons were only one of several such organizations in Twillingate, including the Society of United Fishermen and the Loyal Orange Lodge. These groups provided friendship and community support for local men. Membership in such organizations was often a source of pride and a highly sought-after honour. The Masonic Temple’s central location in Twillingate–and its proximity to other fraternal buildings such as Victoria Hall and the Loyal Character Defining ElementsOrange Lodge–reflects the importance and visibility of fraternal organizations in Newfoundland communities.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Twillingate – Twillingate Masonic Temple – FPT 1325”
Character Defining Elements
All those elements which represent the Classical Revival style of this building, including:
-two-and-a-half storey construction;
-offset tower with roundel window, decorated frieze and ovoid dome;
-steep gable roof;
-heavy cornice moulding on eaves;
-heavily bracketed eaves;
-narrow white wooden clapboard;
-mock exposed beams;
-decorative wooden corner boards;
-decorative wooden clapboard on the bias;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-wooden fanlights above second-storey windows;
-pedimented raincaps above first-storey windows;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior wooden doors;
-pointed arch above main entrance, ornamented with dentils;
-main entrance located centrally on front facade;
-wooden transom window on side entrance;
-original colour schemes on the exterior of the building, and;
-general massing and orientation of building.
All those elements related to the building’s role as a historic Masonic meeting place:
-vaulted, pressed tin ceilings (in building interior);
-black and white checkered floor panel with Masonic motifs (in building interior);
-roundel mouldings above fanlights (in building interior);
-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″, and;
-large Masonic eye and Masonic insignia on front gable.
All those elements related to the Lodge’s historic importance in Twillingate:
-building height and visibility from the harbour, and;
-proximity to other fraternal buildings.
Location and History
Town of Twillingate
111 Main Street, Southside
1906 - 1906
Rectangular Short Façade