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This Masonic Lodge Nails the Hallucino-Fabulous Eden Thing

Flanked by the brick and clapboard suburban housing tracts of the Boston suburbs sits the Museum of Modern Renaissance, a former Masonic Lodge that's been converted into a free-wheeling hippie palace. It's what Rozena Crossman at Messy Nessy Chic describes as "a portal into a sideways universe," with paint swirling on the ceiling—"I almost felt like the murals were moving as I walked," she writes—and bedrooms that must have been inspired by the world's best acid trip at a Grateful Dead concert. The house has come a long way since it was built in 1909 as the Second Unitarian Church of Somerville. Still, even back in 1916, the building hosted the likes of Swami Paramananda, the guy credited with introducing Hindu philosophies to the U.S. It wasn't until 1932 that the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, "a fraternity associated with the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons" bought the place, and not until 1963 that the mysterious, mystical, and famously cult-y Freemasons properly usurped it, making it a proper Masonic Lodge.

The freemasons spent four decades conducting meetings and rituals here, though ultimately the property went up for sale again in 2002. That's when Russian artists Nicholas Shaplyko and Ekaterina Sorokina got a call from their friend, a broker, who told them people were "swarming around" the temple checking it out. The artists, who always wanted to open their own museum—Sorokina's grandfather owned a museum next to Red Square—bought the place with the intention of creating an artistic temple "like a song of beauty about the human body, the human soul, human creativity, and human ability." So like the Italian Renaissance, only much, much groovier.

Counter area:

Photo via Messy Nessy Chic

Great Hall:

Photo via Messy Nessy Chic


Photo via Messy Nessy Chic


Photo via Messy Nessy Chic

There are a lot more photos, over at Messy Nessy Chic.

· My Hometown Masonic Lodge turned Psychedelic Art House [Messy Nessy Chic]