The Site of the Bunch of Grapes Tavern - Boston, MA
Posted by: NorStar
N 42° 21.535 W 071° 03.364
19T E 330678 N 4691675
Quick Description: This plaque of the Bunch of Grapes Tavern, marks the site where the first chartered Masonic Lodge in the New World started and the plans for Marietta, OH, were made.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 9/23/2011 4:06:57 PM
Waymark Code: WMCN31
In Boston, on State Street, not far from the Old State House, is a plaque on a building about the Bunch of Grapes Tavern. This historic tavern was where the first Masonic lodge in America was instituted by the Grand Lodge of England, and was where the Ohio Company was formed which developed plans for the settling of Ohio.
The plaque states the following:
"The site of the
BUNCH OF GRAPES TAVERN
Here on 30th of July 1733 was instituted under charter from the Grand Lodge of England the first regularly constituted lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in America now St. Johns Lodge of Boston
Here in 1786 was organized the Ohio Company pioneer in the development of the great west under the leadership of General Rufus Putnam. First township laid out at Marietta Ohio.
This tablet placed by the City of Boston 30th of July 1925."
The Bunch of Grapes Tavern operated about in the 1650s to 1798, when it was demolished. It was a popular tavern for the upper class 'Whigs.' During British occupation, it was the gathering place for British soldiers. After the Revolutionary War, General George Washington was entertained there as well as the Marque de Lafayette.
The claim about St Johns Lodge being the first lodge in the country is supported on both the web site for Grand Masonic Lodge of Massachusetts and Wikipedia. Henry Price, who apparently was already a Mason, went to the Grand Lodge of England (at the time, one of two; the other being the Grand Lodge of Scotland) and petitioned for a charter to establish Masonic Lodges in the new world. He received such a charter and, thus, the first lodge established, St. Johns Grand Lodge, was the first chartered Grand Lodge in the new world, and is recognized as the third oldest in the world. There are claims of older lodges, but they had not a charter and weren't 'recognized.'
There is a brochure from the National Park service about the settling of Ohio. They support the claim that the planning was done at this state. Prominent people met at the tavern to form the Ohio Company. The company, under authorty of the U.S. Congress, bought 1,500,000 acres in Ohio at 8 1/2 cents an acre. The company was the first to settle Ohio at Marietta, in 1787.
The plaque is located high on a light colored building, in an area of tall buildings close together. It plaque is near the intersection of State Street and Kirby Street, and is within sight of the Old State House.
Wikipedia (Bunch of Grapes Tavern):
Grand Masonic Lodge of Massachusetss
NPS.gov (For Ohioans Only - Pdf Brochure):