The Memorial was constructed, 1922–70, primarily as a monument to George Washington the Freemason. Open to the public, the structure houses a museum devoted to the story of America’s Masons, especially Washington. George Washington joined the Fredericksburg Masonic Lodge in 1752 at age 20. He became Charter Master of the Alexandria Lodge in 1788; it was renamed Alexandria-Washington Lodge after his death in 1799. His heirs donated Washington memorabilia to the lodge, but a fire in 1871 destroyed many of the relics. The present fireproof memorial building was constructed for the surviving items and other artifacts related to Freemasonry.