Description of Historic Place
The Masonic Hall is a two-storey gabled roof vernacular style building with the gable end wall facing the street. It is located on Main Street in Richibucto.
The Masonic Hall is designated as a Local Historic Place for its architecture and for its association with the Freemasons.
Because the building has been covered up with modern siding, even over the windows, there is little that remains of original exterior details. However, the building still conserves its original form, reflecting the vernacular architecture of a rural institutional building of the time.
On the second level of the building, where is the Masonic Hall itself, almost all of the original details remain intact: the plaster walls, the windows, the doors and the woodwork. In the centre of the vaulted ceiling is a raised star cast in plaster. The walls are decorated with trompe l’oeil in imitation of panelling. This remarkable state of preservation is due to the fact that this large room was used as storage space for a furniture company that occupied the building since its acquisition from the Freemasons.
This Masonic Hall is one of the oldest non-residential buildings in Richibucto, and dates back to circa 1867. In the deed between the Masonic representatives of the Saint Andrews Lodge No. 346, signed on September 19, 1866, it is indicated that the lot is “to be used for the purpose of erecting a Masonic Hall.”
On a detailed map of Richibucto of 1906 (Fire Insurance Plan), the building has the inscription: “Printing 1st Hall Over.” This indicates that there was a printing business on the main floor with the Masonic Hall on the second floor. This is where the weekly newspaper The Review was published from 1889 to 1914.
The Saint Andrews Lodge, established in Richibucto in 1856, was one of only three Scottish lodges in the province. However, the Freemasons were already present here since 1820 with the constitution of the St. Lawrence Lodge No. 43.
The Lounsbury Company purchased the building in 1961 to serve as storage space. This same company had acquired the adjoining property on the north in 1947 to construct a building for the sale of furniture, household appliances and automobiles. The two buildings were later joined together.
Sources : Richibucto Town Hall - Richibucto Local Historic places files; Centre d'études acadiennes Anselme-Chiasson, Université de Moncton
The character-defining elements of the Masonic Hall include:
- the two-storey rectangular plan;
- the gable roof;
- the original interior paint finish of the walls of the second level;
- the trompe l’oeil of the walls;
- the moulded plaster cornice of the interior walls of the hall;
- the moulded plaster star of the vaulted ceiling;
- the original windows, currently covered but intact;
- the original interior doors;
- the original interior woodwork.