Mendocino, California: Time and the Maiden Statue

A display of cryptic figures and symbols on top of an old bank building.
Address:
10500 Lansing St., Mendocino, CA
Directions:
Corner of Ukiah and Lansing. Mendocino is on California Route 1, the coast highway, about 150 miles north of San Francisco.
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Time and the Maiden Statue

In Freemasonry, the broken column denotes the untimely death of Grand Master Hiram Abiff. The beautiful Virgin, weeping, denotes the unfinished Temple. The open book before her displays that his virtues are on perpetual record. The sprig of acacia in her right hand represents the timely discovery of his body. The urn in her left, that his ashes were safely deposited to perpetuate the remembrance of so distinguished a character. Father Time standing behind her, unfolding the ringlets of her hair, denotes that time, patience, and perseverance will accomplish all things.

[CT, 06/24/2017]

This full-of-symbols sculpture stands atop a former Masonic lodge.

Mason figures.

Time and the Maiden Statue

Gazing down from their aerie high above the streets of Mendocino, California, stand two stark white figures, surrounded by a curious assortment of props. The old man looks familiar. Yes, it's Father Time, that old dude who shows up every year in late December, with an hourglass and a mean-looking scythe over his shoulder. But who is the young woman with him, and what is he doing to her hair? And why are they both perched atop the cupola of a savings bank in this picturesque village in Northern California?

The answers are both simple and mysterious. The figures are what they are, and what they have always been. It is the building beneath them that has changed -- at least in part.

On top of the bank.

The white, two story building is now the home to a branch of the Savings Bank of Mendocino County, but it was built in the 1860s as the local Masonic Lodge. While the bank now conducts business on the first floor, the local Masons still have use of the meeting room upstairs.

The figures on the pedestal at the top of the temple are symbols from the mythos of the Masonic order, and each of the items surrounding them have significance in their rituals. According to a flyer provided by the Savings Bank, the figures and the items are Father Time, the Hourglass of Transience, the Weeping Maiden, the Annointment of her Hair, the Acacia Branch and the Sacred Urn, the Sundered Column, and the Book of Light.

As to what these items mean exactly, you'll have to ask the Masons. But we know this much: The figures were carved from a log of redwood by Erick Jensen Albertson, a local Mason and lumber mill employee, who also did most of the work building the lodge. There is some controversy as to whether it was proper to set up this statuary display of sacred symbols in such a prominent and public place. But Time and the Maiden remain where Albertson put them, watching over the comings and goings in the streets of Mendocino.

[Alan H. Haeberle, 03/08/2011]

Nearby Offbeat Places

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In the region:
World Famous Tree House, Piercy, CA - 42 mi.

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