April 1916, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Astoria Queens Freemasons’ week long gala for the new Advance Masonic Temple

Published on 10 May 2023 at 11:10

A squadron of seven war balloons floated over Queens, New York in April of 1916, as a back drop for the week-long celebration of the LIC Advance Lodge No 635 Freemasons' opening of the Advance Masonic Temple on Grand Avenue and Van Alst Avenue. The balloons were a wondrous sight to behold.

As people made their way to the festivities in Astoria they were greeted by 200 boy scouts who escorted hundreds from the local water ferries, trolley stations, and the Long Island Railroad station to the Temple where were welcomed by a 40-piece band playing lively music, and the excitement in the air was palpable.


At the opening of each day of celebration, the temple was used as a hanger to launch the balloons. They soared higher and higher, providing a stunning backdrop to the festivities below. The balloons were a symbol of progress and innovation, and they reminded us of the possibilities that lay ahead.


But it wasn't just the balloons that left an impression on me. Each night, the building and many booths run by Campfire Girls and Order of the Eastern Star were lit up by the Master of the lodge, William Blunt, in a dazzling display of hand-made flowers wired with lightbulbs strung across the temple's columns and the various booths. The bazaar raised money for many charities, and the community came together to support the cause. The people dubbed it the "electric palace," and it was a sight to behold.


As people walked through the bazaar, they could feel the sense of community and camaraderie. People purchased tickets for various events, participated in various games and activities, and enjoyed the beauty and majesty of the twinkking lights and war balloons. The celebration was a grand success, and the community was left with memories that would last a lifetime.


In the end, the squadron of seven war balloons became a symbol of the community's strength and determination. They reminded everyone of the progress and innovation that had been achieved, and the sacrifices that had been made to achieve it. Peoole were left with a sense of wonder and awe, inspiring them to come together and support one another in times of need. The celebration was a testament to the power of community and the importance of coming together to support one another. The "electric palace" and the squadron of seven war balloons was remembered as a wondrous sight that brought the community together.

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