My wife and I were visiting Colonial Williamsburg this weekend and we happened upon Williamsburg Lodge #6. I have always wanted to visit this lodge and as luck would have it the front light was on and the gate was opened so we went in.
When you enter the front door you are met with two sets of stairs on your left and right. The left leading up and the right leading down. We heard voices downstairs so that's where we went.
We were met with brotherly and affection by Worshipful Brother Joe Langdale who is the secretary of the lodge and Brother Joe offered us a tour of the lodge. I smiled and my wife frowned; she knew what was coming.
Joe took us upstairs to the lodge room where we met a brother whose name escapes me but he was the lodge and district historian. He gave us a wonderful lecture on the history of the lodge and pointed out some very special items including some original jewels in a shadow box and the treasurer's table that was made with wood from the original lodge. We also met the Worshipful Master Peter Booker who is the 201st Master of the Lodge! Brother Joe has the distinction of being the 200th.
The most fascinating thing about the visit to me though was the Master's Chair. The chair was built in 1774 by a cabinet maker and mason who lived and worked in Williamsburg!
When the Dewitt Art Gallery got wind that the lodge had an original piece from the Colonial period they approached the lodge with a proposition. They knew the monetary and historical value of the chair and so they offered to make an exact replica of the chair and place the original on permanent display in the galley. The replica was made by a cabinet maker who works at Colonial Williamsburg.
The lodge did have one condition though; that they be allowed to retrieve the chair on certain special occasions during the year: Officers installation, both Saints John days and anytime the Grand Master visited the lodge. And as luck would have it I was there on during the Saints John day festivities and so I was allowed to sit in the chair. I got goosebumps! You can add that to your masonic bucket list...
So if you're ever in Colonial Williamsburg and you head down Francis St., if the lights on at the lodge head on in. In the meantime you can head over to their website and read about the history of this great lodge.
Jay Watkins PM