Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rothsay Masonic Temple - Bridgetown

While the Annapolis Royal region is normally the topic of this blog I do like to mix in a bit of the heritage of our neighbours when the opportunity presents itself. I especially like to do this when I see one of our neighbours doing something noteworthy on the heritage front. So, at the end of last week, I grabbed my camera and made a trip to Bridgetown. Ostensibly, this was a research trip for an article I am planning to write but, it was also a good opportunity to investigate a provincially registered heritage property which I had never taken the opportunity to visit.

I am hoping that the building featured today's post, the Rothsay Masonic Temple, is a heritage feel good story in the making. This proud brick structure was originally built as a Presbyterian church in 1871. it served this purpose until 1921 when the the congregation joined with the Methodists and moved to Gordon Providence United Church. In 1925, the building was purchased by the Rothsay order of the Masonic Lodge and converted to use as a Masonic Hall. One of the first things which was done was to divide the interior into two floors using large steel I beams for support. Recently, the Rothsay Lodge has decided to cease operating. I can imagine that this was a very difficult decision for the remaining members. A deal was struck with the Town of Bridgetown that they would take over the building at a minimal cost (I believe an exchange for taxes owed). Since this time, the Town has actively been looking to find a new owner for this attractive building. Admittedly, it does need some structural as well as cosmetic work but I give full credit to the Masonic Lodge and the Town for taking an active roll in trying to preserve a piece of their heritage. If I am lucky, I many even be able to give a few updates as to how restoration work is going once a new owner is found.

The building itself is an excellent example of the Gothic Revival style. Hallmarks of this style would include the sharply pitched gable roof, the large peaked window and the smaller lancet windows. I really enjoy the playful bits of woodwork which greatly add to the character of the building. The paired brackets which support the truncated steeple give a slight nod to the Italianate style which would have also been popular at the time this structure was built. The fascia board also features an interesting repeated design. These wooden elements add some levity to what is otherwise a visually imposing structure. The brick buttresses with stone caps also add a certain flair to the structure. I believe that this building was literally built with Annapolis County soil as the bricks appear to be locally made.

All for now,

1 comment:

  1. The building was not turned over to the town for taxes but as the membership declined it was decided to give it to the town in hopes the money would go to the new firehall.