George Washington belonged to Alexandria Lodge 22, and was named the lodge's Charter Master in 1788. Records of Washington presiding over the lodge are non-existent, possibly due to a fire at the lodge's original location in Alexandria's City Hall, which is where the lodge met until moving to the memorial in the early 1940s. Ground was broken in 1922, the Cornerstone laid in 1923; it was completed in 1932. It is located in Alexandria, Virginia, atop Shuter's Hill (named after a Union fort on the same location) and affords views of Alexandria and Washington, D.C., to the north. The tower is fashioned after the Lighthouse of Alexandria (Egypt), in part because of the town's namesake, and the Masonic interest in great buildings of the ancient world. It is located where King Street leaves the Old Town district, makes a bend and starts up a long hill. The Memorial's proximity to both the King Street station of the Metro and to Amtrak's Alexandria passenger station, in recent decades has turned the property into a most strategic and valuable location.
The George Washington Masonic National Memorial is the only Masonic building supported and maintained by the 52 Grand Lodges of the United States. This is counter to common Masonic practice, where a building is only supported by the Grand Lodge of the state in which it resides. The building also houses the collection of the Alexandria Lodge, which contains most of the fraternal artifacts of George Washington, including Watson and Catsoul Apron, Sash, Past Master portrait, Working Tools and Trowel used to lay the cornerstone at the United States Capitol.
The First Floor contains three large, distinct areas: the Shrine Rooms, Assembly Hall, and Dining Rooms. The Shrine Rooms are dedicated to the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Shriners, who have established orthopedic hospitals and burn centers for children. The Assembly Hall is in the center space of the first floor, with eight New Hampshire green granite columns eighteen feet tall. Around the room are dioramas depicting scenes from the life of George Washington. The Assembly Hall (South Lodge Room) is used by the Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 and other visiting Masonic lodges. The North Lodge room is used by the Andrew Jackson Lodge No. 120 and other appendant Masonic organizations.