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The 1964-65 World's Fair and Freemasonry

Masonic_brotherhood_center_web Lots of folks have memories of the 1964-65 World's Fair, held in the borough of Queens in New York City, and recognized by the Fair's memorable icon, the Unisphere. There were lots of popular pavilions and attractions at the Fair, ranging from the memorable - like General Electric's Progressland (developed by Walt Disney and later transplanted to Disneyland as the Carousel of Progress) - to the perhaps less-than-memorable, like the AARP's Dynamic Maturity pavilion.

But did you know that there was also a Masonic pavilion at the 1964-65 World's Fair? The theme of the Fair was "peace through understanding," and so it seems a natural fit that the Grand Lodge of New York decided to sponsor The Masonic Brotherhood Center, with its theme of "Brotherhood: the Foundation of World Peace."

Outside, the pavilion featured 50-foot tall (and very space-agey) square-and-compasses. Inside the building, items on display included the bible that George Washington used when he first took the Presidential oath of office, as well Simon Bolivar's 32nd degree Scottish Rite apron and his 32nd degree Scottish Rite collar.

If you go to Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens today, you can still see the Unisphere as well as the Tent of Tomorrow, but you won't find too much of the 1964-65 World's Fair beyond that - certainly not those huge square-and-compasses. (Although I'm happy to report that our colleagues over at the Livingston Library at the Grand Lodge of New York inform us that those great space-age square-and-compasses still survive.)

If you've got memories of The Masonic Brotherhood Pavilion, we'd love to hear about them - just share them in the comments below.

Pictured above is a small booklet produced by the Grand Lodge of New York for the World's Fair:

The Masonic Brotherhood Center at the New York World's Fair, 1964-1965. [New York: Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York, 1964.]
Call number: 52 .M4125 [1964]



That is great to hear! What a lovely way to repurpose this object.



That square & compass now holds a prominent place on the grounds of the Masonic Care Community in Utica NY


Hi Brian.

I’m pretty sure that the Grand Lodge of New York has the giant square and compasses in their collection. I suggest that you contact the Livingston Library at the Grand Lodge of New York for further info.



Does anyone know where the giant square and compasses are that were in front of the building?


Hi Carl.

Thanks very much for passing along the images of the cards from your visit to the Masonic pavilions at two different World's Fairs. It was great to see them. Thanks for taking the time to write.

- Jeff

Carl Cutler

Under separate cover, I am emailing you the "Masonic Hospitality Lounge" card I was presented with, while on leave from Fort Lewis,WA, at the 1962 Seattle Worlds Fair. In addition I'm enclosing a card I received from the "Masonic Brotherhood Center" during the 1964-65, N.Y.Worlds Fair.

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