Hey did you know that Freemasons have been part of the Town of Wilmington's history since 1901. Did you know that funky looking castle building on Church Street next to the old firehouse, is a masonic building and home to Friendship Lodge, which has been at the same location since 1904. Did you know that the masonic building is actually open to the public and welcomes visitors. Yes that's right, all the secrets you ever wanted to know are there for you to see. Okay, maybe not all the secrets, but our building is open to anyone who would like to come and see what the inside of a masonic hall looks like. Hi, my name is Mario Marchese and I am currently the Senior Warden (kinda like VP) of Friendship Lodge in Wilmington. I will be blogging here on the Patch on a regular basis, giving you tibits about Freemasonry, which just happens to be the largest and oldest fraternity in the world. With past members such as George Washington, Paul Revere, Harry Truman, and John Glenn, just to name a few, Freemasons enjoy a long and proud history in the United States of America. Friendship Lodge is a very strong community based masonic lodge with members from all over town who are very active in our community and who are very proud of giving back to the town in anyway that they can. Freeemasons pride themselves on giving to charity, on average Freemasons give about $4 million dollars a day to charity all throughout the world. Our biggest philanthropy by far is the Shriner's Hospitals for Children. Yes, all Shriners are Freemasons, but not all Freemasons are Shriners. We are very proud to have Shriner's Aleppo Temple right here in Wilmington on Fordham Road, home to the Shriners Circus and many sporting and entertainment events. Yes we pride ourselves on charity, but we do shy away from the glamor and glitts, which has caused many to believe we are a "secret society," which couldn't be any farther from the truth. Yes we do have secrets and we do meet behind closed doors just like any corporate board meeting, but we are very visible in the community. All of our buildings are open to the public and our Grand Lodge building which is on Boston Common, is considered to be a musuem by many, and welcomes visitors everday. We wear pins and hats and even put placards and bumper stickers all over our cars for everyone to see. We even have our own website at www.friendshiplodge.com. If that's the description of a secret society then someone needs to re-write Webster's dictionary. Basically Freemasonry is composed of men who gather together for friendship. morality and brotherly love, whose main goal is to be better members of our community. Freemasonry however is not limited to men alone, as we have affiliate organizations for women, girls and boys as well. So click on some of these hyperlinks and do your own searching and see if Freemasony is for you. In the upcoming weeks, I will be writing about activities at Friendship Lodge and more about the history of Freemasonry and dispell some of myths surrounding Freemasonry and cast light on its history in America.