Tuolumne County Points of Interest

Columbia Masonic Temple 4 December 2012
(Click Photo to Zoom)
Masonic Temple
Washington Street at Broadway Street
Erected 1855
Razed 1891
Restored 1949

In the early 1850's there were several wooden structures built on the lot where the Masonic Temple now stands. In 1853 Charles Cardinell purchased a three story frame building that was on the property. Cardinell ran the Saint Charles Restaurant on the first floor and the Saint Charles Hotel on the other two floors. After the building was destroyed in the great fire of 1854, a three story brick structure was built on the lot. The Masons used the upper floor of this building. In 1863 the Masons bought the lower floor.

In 1890 the brick building was torn down and the land was mined. The bricks were then used in the Rawhide mine. In 1947 the Columbia Historic Park Association bought the lot from the estate of Tom Conlin and then sold it to the State for $1.00.

In 1950 the present building was constructed by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons and given to the State in exchange for a fifty year lease.

Source: Columbia Chamber of Commerce

Gold Rush Stonemasons

Mining camps started as clusters of tents and other makeshift shelters. If the mine was productive, wooden buildings were erected and a town was born.

Conflagrations were a recurring curse. Often entire town were repeatedly destroyed by fire. Stonemasons, especially Italian immigrants from Liguria, began building "fire proof" banks and stores of stone or brick with iron doors and iron window shutters to protect the contents from fire.

Many of these stone buildings survive. Some of them, such as the Butte Store, are the sole reminders of a lost mining town.

Some of these buildings are:

Butte Store in Amador County
Calabozo in Hornitos
Civil War Armory in Georgetown
Compere Store in Murphys
Downieville Museum in Downieville

Fountain & Tallman Soda Works in Placerville
Gamble Building in Big Oak Flat
Hirshfeldter Building in Downieville
Honigsberger Store in Copperopolis
Italian Store in Douglas Flat

Kohler Store in Washington
Mackerman & Company Building in Downieville
Masonic Lodge in Columbia
Masonic Lodge in Hornitos
Nevada Brewery in Nevada City

Nevada Theatre in Nevada City
Odd Fellows Hall in Big Oak Flat
Old Segale Building in Murphys
Old Stone Garage in Truckee
Plymouth Trading Post in Plymouth

Pearson Soda Works in Placerville
Sam Choy Store in Angels Camp
Stage Stop in La Grange
Valente Building in Murphys
Watts & Tannahill Company Store in Groveland

Wells Fargo Bank and Stage Stop in Georgetown
Wells Fargo Express in Chinese Camp
Wells Fargo Express in French Corral
Wells Fargo & Company in North San Juan

Some Masonic Halls in California

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