GM is back this week for Now and Long Time Ago by returning to the great Willard R. Ross postcard collection at the DC Public Library archive. Specifically, he’s visiting the Masonic Hall on Wisconsin Ave. above M St.
Home to Weaver’s Hardware since 1889, the Masonic Hall was built approximately in 1878. Like all Masonic Halls, the meeting room in on the second floor. It’s there that Potomac Lodge No. 5 meets. This is the oldest Masonic Lodge in DC, and in fact predates the District having been founded as Maryland Lodge No. 9 in 1789. This lodge, which still meets in the building, has many treasures including the gavel used by George Washington when he laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol.
Weaver’s ran a typical hardware shop for most of its existence. Here’s a shot inside from 1920 (which is just 9 years after the postcard photo)
The family maintained a traditional hardware shop up to the 90s:
They are still in business, but specialize in high end plumbing and architectural hardware and maintain a smaller show room upstairs from the Ambercrombie.
The facade is obviously quite different these days. That’s because the building suffered a catastrophic fire in July 1963:
The new facade is yet another example of a faux historical style that most probably mistakenly assume is original.