The prison of the end of the world
Zenon: Who would be foolish enough to die without having made at least around his prison ?
« L’Œuvre au noir » (1968), Marguerite Yourcenar
The Lodge Fin del Mundo n°496 is still set in the infirmary of the old prison of Ushuaia. This prison is now a listed heritage building. The Lodge continues to work in the prison awaiting that the new temple the brothers are now building is complete. This is probably the only known example of a lodge that meets in such a place, but the brothers are just happy to get together in this historical place.
The masons’ life is mostly made of memories. Memories of places, tradition and families.
In 1896 the prison received its first inmates, mainly re-offenders and dangerous prisoners transferred from Buenos Aires, but also some political prisoners. A separate military prison opened in 1903 at the nearby Puerto Golondrina. The two prisons merged in 1910, and that combined complex still stands today.
The prison population thus became forced colonists who spent much of their time building the town with timber from the forest around the prison.
The prison operated until 1947, when President Juan Perón closed it by executive order in response to the many reports of abuse and unsafe practices.