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This year marks the 200th anniversary of Liberty Lodge—Bedford’s Masonic lodge—and the Bedford Museum has opened a display to commemorate it.
The building that houses the Museum was formerly the Masonic Lodge’s building. It was built in 1895 and served Liberty Lodge until 1978 when the Lodge moved to its current location on Longwood Avenue. The Lodge’s meeting room was on the third floor and the first and second floors provided space for a number of professional offices.
The display, which occupies one room of the Museum, consists of artifacts from the Museum’s collection, according to Jennifer Thomson, the Museum’s genealogical librarian.
There is also an item that was made especially for the display. Thomson said that there was a lawsuit over the bricks supplied for the Lodge’s construction, shortly after it was built. She said two types of brick were used at the time. One was a regular, fully fired brick used for the exteriors and load bearing construction. The other was called “salmon brick,” which was not fully fired and was, therefore, softer.
It was used elsewhere in the construction. The lawsuit came about because the construction material supplier had sent too many “salmon bricks” and the Lodge had to get more brick elsewhere. “Salmon bricks” are no longer made, but General Shale Brick, of Blue Ridge, was able to duplicate one for Thomson to use in the display.
The display also lists all the Lodge’s grand masters since 1813. The list includes familiar names such as Roy Stevens, Carl Wells and William R. Terry. Terry was a brigadier general in the Confederate Army and the local United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) takes its name from him.
There are a number of old photographs on display. One shows the members of the Lodge right after the 1895 building was built. The photo is alongside a list of the names of all the men in the photo along with what line of work or business they were in. There is also a newspaper clipping—on the order of the Bedford Bulletin’s Old Faces feature—that ran in 1943.
Thomson said the display will remain in place through the end of December. Liberty Lodge will celebrate its bicentennial that month.