George Washington Masonic Memorial, Alexandria, VA – 23 JUN 2011

Some of my best adventures are serendipitous…I thought I was driving to a Metro station. I was planning on taking the Metro to DC to see the Calder exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. When I got out of the car I noticed I was across from the mysterious Masonic building. I have been curious about this building since I first saw it a year ago. I noticed some people walking over to it, so I thought I’d see if it was open to the public.
If I had used the Internet to find the address and visitation hours, I would have driven up to the parking lot and missed this great view.
“The mission of the Memorial is to promote the virtues, character and vision of George Washington, the Man, the Mason and Father of our Country, and to preserve the history of American Freemasonry.” (Quotes are from their pamphlet.)
"The design of the Memorial reflects the classical architecture of ancient Greece and Rome...the Memorial entrance, inspired by the Parthenon, is Doric; the interior of Memorial Hall is Composite. The three sections of the Tower ascend in levels of complexity with Doric features at the bottom, Ionic in the middle, and Corinthian at the top."
On either side of the entry hall were long mural paintings. Shown here in three panels, the south wall shows President Washinton in full Masonid regalia laying the corerstone of the United States Capitol on September 18, 1793. 
The next three panels show the north wall which depicts George Washingon and his officers attending a St. John's Day Observance at Christ Church in Philadelphia on December 28, 1778.
 
The basement holds several rooms displaying artifacts and history of: Freemasons, Shriners (and their little red cars) and the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
I was not aware the Shriners were related to the Masons. Started by two Master Masons in 1870, it was a fraternity dedicated to fun and fellowship.

Of the several Presidents who were Masons, the Masonic exhibit highlights three of them: Washington, Jackson, Truman plus Ben Franklin.
      
When I returned to the car, I found I was at a train station not a Metro station…just another happy accident.