Dixwell 7 image

Masonic Temple

Excluded from the all-white musicians union, New Haven’s African American musicians organized their own all-Black union to protect their rights as workers in the music industry. Established in August of 1924, Local 48 of the American Federation of Musicians was formed. At a meeting held here at the Masonic Hall, 50 Black musicians gathered. They elected James Fletcher as union president and Joshua R. Holland was named secretary. 

The beautiful building that housed the masonic temple, here at the same site where the Goffe Street School and YMCA was located, was built in 1913. It later housed the Greater New Haven Trades Council. The building was sadly demolished in the mid-1960s as part of the city’s urban renewal program, which you can learn more about in our tour of the Hill.

While we are on the topic of Black musicians, it is worth mentioning a famous doowop group from the Dixwell area of New Haven: the Five Satins. In 1956, they recorded the hit, “In the Still of the Night,” in the basement of St. Bernadette Church located at 385 Townsend Ave. This song topped billboard charts and remains an oldies favorite.

A Peoples' History of Dixwell
  1. Dixwell Tour Intro
  2. Hillhouse High School
  3. Directions to Monterey Jazz Club
  4. Monterey Jazz Club
  5. Directions to Hannah Gray Home
  6. Hannah Gray Home
  7. Directions to John Daniels Place
  8. John Daniels Place
  9. Directions to Goffe Street School
  10. Goffe Street School
  11. Directions to Negro YMCA
  12. Negro YMCA
  13. Directions to Masonic Temple
  14. Masonic Temple
  15. Directions to Q House
  16. Q House
  17. Directions to Bristol Street
  18. Bristol Street
  19. Directions to Grove Street Cemetery
  20. Grove Street Cemetery
  21. Directions to Attempt to Make an HBCU in New Haven
  22. Attempt to Create HBCU in New Haven
  23. Directions to Yale Law School
  24. Jane Matilda Bolin and Pauli Murray
  25. Directions to Grace Hopper College
  26. College Renamed
  27. Directions Back to Hillhouse High School
  28. End of Dixwell Tour