Masonic Hall, Shenandoah Street, Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, WV
Significance: Like many earlier nineteenth-century structures in Harpers Ferry, the Masonic Hall Building was originally conceived by Philip Coons to house commercial stores on the first floor with dwelling quarters above. However, the Masonic Hall Building varies somewhat from this pattern. The first assembly hall of Charity Lodge #111, one of the earlier Masonic Lodges in the area which would become West Virginia, was destroyed in a fire in January 1845. Shortly thereafter, Coons, who was a member of Charity Lodge #111, agreed to allow the Masons to construct a new lodge room on the third floor of the building he had begun erecting the previous year. The third-floor assembly hall was most likely completed by the time of the Masons' first meeting there on November 22, 1845. Although the first two stories generally followed local building conventions, the third floor and roof constructions are unique among the town's surviving buildings. An elliptical vaulted ceiling was suspended from an elaborate king-post roof to create a large, virtually uninterrupted meeting room. The vaulted ceiling is particularly distinctive as it was constructed with salvaged timbers from "gundalows" which ran freight down the Shenandoah River. The third floor continued to function as the Masonic Hall for over a century until the building was deeded to the State of West Virginia in 1952.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N246
Survey number: HABS WV-279