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REGISTERED COVER from ADELAIDE to MASONIC TEMPLE, MINNEAPOLIS, USA

This registered stampless O.H.M.S. cover has a squared circle REGISTERED ADELAIDE/ FE 9/ 03/ S.A postmark as well as a CORRESPONDENCE OFFICE/ FE 9/ 03/ G.P.O, partially obscuring an oval transit REGISTERED/ 14 (March) 1903/ LONDON. It was sent from the Post Office and Telegraph Department, Adelaide, S.A. and it had a large ‘R’ in an oval. There was an additional blue handstamp of ‘55719', and 2 other black handstamps, of which only ‘29553' was totally legible. The cover was addressed to E.S. Stebbins Esqr, 614 Masonic Temple, Minneapolis, Minn, U.S.A. (Figures 1 & 1A).

The reverse had a 3-lined red handstamp of which the first line was illegible, with the second line showing MAR 30, 1903, and the third line showing a transit of CHICAGO ILL. There was also a purple 4-line arrival handstamp of MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.,/ REGISTRY DIVISION/ MAR 31 1903/ with the name of the receiving clerk. W.D. HALH[ ] (Figure 2).

Though no expert in special S.A. handstamps, I had never seen the Correspondence Office postmark before, and then in the same week I saw a slightly later dated postmark from the Correspondence Office originating from the Postmaster-General’s Department S.A., dated 10.JE.12 where S.A. was substituted for G.P.O, at the base of the handstamp, as seen in Figure 3.

What follows is extracted from Joseph J. Korom’s The American Skyscraper, 1850-1940: A Celebration of Height, and the lyrical description would not apply to modern-day sky scrapers in Minneapolis. The Masonic Temple Building, Minneapolis was designed by Long and Keys, buillt in 1888-1889, and opened in grand style on 8 April 1890. It was the newest of Minneapolis’ skyscrapers and its distinctive profile, due to its onion-shaped corner dome, was visible for miles throughout the streets of the city. Its eight-storey mass was a major addition to downtown Minneapolis where it still reigns as a landmark of the first class.

The building’s exterior is of Minnesota sandstone. The design, the craft and the superb handling of such material here approach some of the finest anywhere. This building’s walls offer a premier example of the use of rough-faced stonework as applied to a skyscraper. The first floor’s exterior displays the huge piles of the stones necessary for these load-bearing walls to do the work necessary in supporting the other seven levels above. Structurally the Masonic Temple Building is of cage construction, and structurally it is of Richardsonian Romanesque (Figure 4).

Originally the Masonic Temple Building’s first floor was devoted to retail concerns. The next six floors housed offices, lodge and committee rooms for eleven Masonic lodges. The eighth floor once housed a banquet/reception hall, parlors and dressing rooms. These spaces hosted many gala balls and ceremonies over a half-century. By the 1970's the building was almost vacant and the wrecking ball seemed imminent. But in 1985, the Masonic Temple Building was saved by a coalition of organisations and now it is the Hennepin Center for the Arts, but it has lost its distinctive onion-shaped corner dome.

Wikipedia lists 66 Masonic Temple Buildings in the United States of America.

 
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