The Other Monument to the Father of Our Country
June 26, 2001 10:34 AM   Subscribe

The Other Monument to the Father of Our Country has its own particular -- albeit weird -- appeal. I've been there twice and I'm impressed by how good a sense of its aesthetic you can get from this website and virtual tour. Of course, the "universally enjoyed" miniature Shriner parade has to be seen to be believed, but the pure American extravagance of the whole thing is nicely documented here.
posted by BT (21 comments total)
Damn. I saw the URL "" and thought...
posted by aaron at 11:26 AM on June 26, 2001

an amazing and beautiful temple
posted by roboto at 11:45 AM on June 26, 2001

OK, you can't see them in the pic, but there are midget cars, tricycles etc. in the parade, really. And there's a whole wall o' fezzes in that room.

What's great about the place is the way it oscillates between being very standard-seeming Americana and mystically surreal.
posted by BT at 11:45 AM on June 26, 2001

I don't *get* Masons. Are they just like other charitable organizations, such as Lions Clubs or Kiwanis (not that I know much about them either)? Are Masons, umm, weird and secretive and exclusionary? Maybe it is an organization I would be interested in joining later in life (I think there's a guild hall a couple blocks away from my house), or maybe they're a cult. Any tips or info out there?
posted by msacheson at 11:56 AM on June 26, 2001

The Masons do grandiose and forbidding particularly well.

Anyone else seen the maps of central DC that suggests the main avenues were designed to represent the compass and square? (Bonkers link, I know, but the only one I could find with the overlay map...)
posted by holgate at 12:04 PM on June 26, 2001

They're pretty similar to an elks lodge or Knights of Columbus, expect they have a neat pseudo-history.
posted by Doug at 12:04 PM on June 26, 2001

The Museum of Our National Heritage in Lexington, MA is one half American history museum, one half Masonic history museum. My wife and I went a couple of years ago to check out a cool exhibit on Frank Lloyd Wright and walked through the Masonic part just to see what it was -- very creepy.
posted by briank at 12:21 PM on June 26, 2001

Ah yes, another large phallic symbol erected to the father of the country.
posted by norm at 12:21 PM on June 26, 2001

Masons: 2B1ASK1
posted by roboto at 12:29 PM on June 26, 2001

attraction rather then promotion. Goethe, haydn, burns, mozart, all masons. a great group as Imperator was a deMolay. I had a boss who was a shriner/mason. He was a clown for the circus and put, NEO WELT ORDNUNG on his little car(only once) no one noticed despite the bad german.
posted by clavdivs at 12:57 PM on June 26, 2001

This is true but in 18th century Austria(for example) who really had more power, some fop at court or the postmaster. Free-masonry is open to all age groups... i wont go there. Sinister is as sinister does.
posted by clavdivs at 1:28 PM on June 26, 2001

Kick ass! I can get a scholarship if I go shill for the Masons? I have been trying to come up with some funding ever since I heard that Matt made the scholarship undergrad only.
posted by norm at 1:31 PM on June 26, 2001

This may be a naive question, clavdivs, but what's sinister about them? Thanks...
posted by msacheson at 1:32 PM on June 26, 2001

"big time philanthropists" versus real power at a local yet international level. Real power being those who run the trains, truck, water etc. There has been a great tradition of oppressing freemasons. A freemason would probably like to keep this thread...funny and light.
posted by clavdivs at 1:34 PM on June 26, 2001

Holgate, I live in DC and have never heard such a theory before. But it is a pretty bizarre coincidence, if not intended.

If someone finds a map describing these so-called secret Mason markers, I'd love to go out and try to find 'em on foot.
posted by jennak at 1:37 PM on June 26, 2001


And don't even think of bringing up the Knights Templar!
posted by solistrato at 2:04 PM on June 26, 2001

But what about the Tres?
posted by darukaru at 2:38 PM on June 26, 2001

During the 18th-19th century there was a huge boom in fraternal societies. Masons, Odd Fellows, Moose, and many forgotten others (Red Men, Knights of Pythias, Order of the Scottish Rite, etc.) with secretive rituals were initially popular, many of them drawing from a sketchy and popular-culture understanding of near-East rituals. Later, the basic ideas remained, but the secretive aspects disappeared, giving rise to modern, open societies such as Rotary and Kiwanis. Here's a pretty good history of Masonry and the Catholic church. Some of the mystique surrounding it to this day is due to ill-conceived Catholic bans.
posted by dhartung at 4:34 PM on June 26, 2001

I went to this place, almost by accident, in early spring. The tour guide spent more time explaining how the lighting worked than about the substance of the tour... And I completely lost it when the glow-in-the-dark image appeared (as if by magic) on the wall.
posted by crunchland at 5:31 PM on June 26, 2001

[Ah yes, another large phallic symbol erected to the father of the country.]

What, A vagina is a better architectual model?
posted by revbrian at 6:16 PM on June 26, 2001

demolay, demolay, demolay. vive la demolay.
posted by clavdivs at 7:35 AM on June 27, 2001

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