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Masonic Home for Children in Alexandria

Background and Early History

The Masonic Home for Children was built in 1925 by the Louisiana Masons, and operated for decades on its campus at the corner of Masonic Drive and Horseshoe Drive in Alexandria. The campus was comprised of several buildings, including its focal point, a magnificent 3-story structure built in the Italian Renaissance style and featuring a classic red tile roof. The campus has been vacant and unused for nearly 20 years since its closure in May of 1994.

Main Building, Masonic Home for Children, Alexandria, LouisianaMain building at the Masonic Home for Children, Alexandria, Louisiana

Because of Alexandria's central location in Louisiana, the Masons selected a 70-acre site on Masonic Drive, just outside the Alexandria city limits, in 1924 on which to build their new $250,000 home for orphaned children. The architects for the building were Jones, Roessle, Olschner & Wiener. The campus would umtimately include the main building, a boys dormitory, a girls dormitory, chapel, and infirmary.

Architectural Elements of the Main Building

According to the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, the main building is set on an English basement, and features a symmetrical plan with a central entrance. The foyer leads to a two-story common room in the rear. To either side are corridors, each of which leads to a large dormitory space.

The interiors are fairly plain, featuring transoms over the doors and chair rails. The exterior surface of the building is a combination of buff and light brown rough brick laid up in Flemish bond with cast cement accent details. Adjacent to the main building is a 1-story brick infirmary built by the Masonic Women's Auxiliary; it features low-key neo-classical styling and has brickwork similar to the main building.

Plans for the Future

In January of 2012 plans were announced to reuse portions of the campus as an upscale apartment complex. According to news in the Alexandria Daily Town Talk, the main building is scheduled to undergo a $17 million conversion into 169 high-end apartments beginning in March of 2012. The property developers are working with the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation to ensure that many of the historic elements remain intact throughout the rehabilitation and restoration process.

The gated community, to be known as Mason Estates, will be completed in 2013, according to the developer. Plans for Mason Estates include 25 loft apartments with high ceilings and other amenities.

Demolition and construction is underway ... see photos below taken on June 19, 2012.


Aerial view of the campus of the Masonic Home for Children as seen in this historic postcard.
Masonic Drive (U.S. Highway 165) runs along the bottom of the photo, Horseshoe Drive on the left.
Prescott Road is visible across the top of the photo.
view map of the Masonic Home location on Google

Aerial view of the campus of the Masonic Home for Children on Masonic Drive in Alexandria Louisiana

Main Building, Masonic Home for Children in Alexandria
(Photo courtesy of the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation)
Main Building, Masonic Home for Children, Alexandria, Louisiana

Masonic Home for Children
Main Building, Masonic Home for Children, Alexandria, Louisianac

MasoniNational Register of Historic Places Plaque
Masonic Home for Children, erected in 1925, placed on the National Regiser Nov. 20, 1987
(Courtesy of Ronnie Puckett)National Register of Historic Places Plaque Masonic Home for Children

Construction Under Way at the Masonic Home Site - June 19, 2012

Main Building of the Masonic Home in Alexandria, Louisiana - status as of 06/19/2012
Construction Under Way at the Masonic Home Site in Alexandria, Louisiana - June 19, 2012

Boy's Dormitory
Construction Under Way at the Masonic Home Site in Alexandria, Louisiana - June 19, 2012

Demolition underway of the girls dorm and Mr. & Mrs. Stephens’ house
between the main building and the chapel - 06/19/2012

Construction Under Way at the Masonic Home Site in Alexandria, Louisiana - June 19, 2012

Chapel at the Masonic Home in Alexandria, Louisiana
Construction Under Way at the Masonic Home Site in Alexandria, Louisiana - June 19, 2012

Construction Under Way at the Masonic Home Site - June 27, 2012

Gymnasium before demolition - 06/27/2012
Gymnasium before demolition - 06/27/2012

Gymnasium after demolition - 06/27/2012
Gymnasium after demolition - 06/27/2012

 

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