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Iconic Detroit Building of the Week: Masonic Temple

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Building: The Detroit Masonic Temple
Facts: Detroit's Masonic Temple is the largest Masonic Temple in the world, and has been since the Chicago temple was demolished in 1939. The stage in the main theater is also the second largest in the US, with a 100-foot stage span and a depth of 55 feet from the curtain.
Architect: George D. Mason designed the building as neo-Gothic because the aptly-named architect viewed it as best exemplifying Masonic principles.
Fun notions: The Masonic has seven Craft Lodge Rooms, each with a theme. These include: Italian Renaissance, Egyptian and Romanesque.

Materials: The building's facing is Indiana limestone.
Craftsmanship and art: Sculptor Corrado Parducci designed, oversaw or executed much of the plaster, metal and stonework in the temple's interior. Parducci's other impressive Detroit work includes The Horace Rackham Memorial Fountain at the Detroit Zoo, and the statuary at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Featured spaces: The Masonic Temple boats two full ballrooms: the Crystal Ballroom and the Fountain Ballroom. By itself, the Fountain Ballroom seats 1000 in over 17K square feet.
History: The Masons' history in Detroit dates at least to 1894, when they officially incorporated. The Detroit Masons purchased the lot for the temple and broke ground in 1922 employing a trowel that famous Mason George Washington used in laying the cornerstone of the US Capitol. The Masons raised $2.5 million to build their gothic palace, and the building was dedicated on Thanksgiving in 1926.
Recent events: The building headed for foreclosure in early 2013, with over over $152,000 in taxes owed to the county. Detroit alt rocker Jack White paid $142,000 of the bill in May 2013. The White Stripes' frontman said that the temple helped his family by employing his mother as an usher, and he wanted to give back. Though he initially wanted to remain anonymous, his role in the gift became public that June, and the temple renamed the Scottish Rite cathedral in the building as the Jack White Theater.
Acts who've played the Temple: Sting, Morrissey, Nina Simone, Chrissie Hynde, Sam Smith, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who and the Rolling Stones.


Note: Is there a great building you'd like to see featured? Send photographs and ideas to rebecca@curbed.com for inclusion in upcoming entries in this series.

·Masonic Temple [Historic Detroit]
·About Us [Detroit Masonic Temple]
·Jack White pays tax bill to save historic Detroit property [Marquee Blog]
·Jack White paid Masonic Temple back taxes [Detroit Free Press]
·Detroit's Masonic Temple faces shutoff over failure to pay electric and gas bills [Detroit Free Press]

Masonic Temple

500 Temple Street, , MI 48201 (313) 832-7100 Visit Website