There’s nothing like Southern hospitality, and I experienced it first hand when I gave two talks while on a recent trip to the USA; one talk to Noah Lodge No. 357, which meets at Fort Myers, on the west coast of Florida, and another talk at the Scottish Rite at Tampa, just a few hours drive north on Interstate 75 from Fort Myers. Noah Lodge meets in its own building and is well known for its ‘fresco’ of King Solomon in the East of the lodge room; King Solomon sits in the centre flanked by two Knights Templar. It was interesting to see the members of the lodge wear their aprons underneath their jackets, which is similar to how Masons under the Grand Lodge of Ireland wear their aprons. My talk was part of an event that also included the raising of two brothers.
The Scottish Rite Temple at Tampa was the location of my second talk, the event featured my talk then a live TV link-up with the Scottish Rite in Washington DC which covered a charity fund raising event. Both talks were a success and it gave me a chance to meet with renowned Florida Masons such as Ed Ciofani from Noah Lodge who arranged the trip, George Brooks of the Scottish Rite in Tampa, and Masonic author John S Nagy. A future Masonic project with Brother Ciofani’s Wherever TV is planned so I will be posting information concerning this soon.
After the Florida leg of the trip, I then travelled to Atlanta, Georgia and squeezed in a visit to Bulloch Hall in Roswell, which was the residence of the Bulloch family in the nineteenth century. The hall was built around 1839, and has a connection with Liverpool, as a member of the family James Dunwoody Bulloch, was in Liverpool during the American Civil War acting on behalf of the Confederacy. Bulloch was arranging the financing and the construction of ships for the Confederate Navy, some of the ships being built at Lairds in Birkenhead, one of the most famous of these being the CSS Alabama. The hall also has a number of Masonic connections; the most famous concerning President Theodore Roosevelt, who was a member of the family and a Freemason.