About the Masonic Temple


     Detroit's Masonic Temple (The Masonic) is the largest building of its kind in the world. Construction began in 1920 and was completed in 1926.
     By 1908, interest and membership in Masonic fraternities had grown to such an extent that the Masonic Temple Association of Detroit began to consider either enlarging the existing Masonic Temple on Lafayette Boulevard or building a new, larger facility.
     Land on Bagg Street (now Temple Avenue) was acquired and by 1920, the architectural firm George Mason and Company had completed an integrated design of a multi-function complex. Ground was broken on Thanksgiving Day, 1920. The cornerstone was laid on September 18, 1922, during a ceremony attended by thousands of Detroiters, using a trowel previously used by George Washington during the construction of the U.S. Capitol.
Click for panoramic view of the Corner Stone Laying
Click for panoramic view of the Corner Stone Laying
     Significantly, the opening of the theater was celebrated during a concert by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ossip Gabrilowitsch, on February 22, 1926--George Washington's birthday. The formal dedication of the building took place on Thanksgiving Day, 1926. Once again, thousands of Detroiters were present for the ceremony.
     George Mason's unique design included three theaters (one was never completed, but is sometimes used by movie-production crews), a Shrine building, the Chapel, eight lodge rooms, a 17,500 square foot drill hall, two ballrooms, office space, a cafeteria, dining rooms, a barber shop, 16 bowling lanes--1037 rooms in total--in addition to a powerhouse that generated all electricity for the complex.
Click for panoramic view of the Lobby of the Ritual Tower
Click for panoramic view of the Lobby of the Ritual Tower
Mason also incorporated the artistic conceptions of the sculptor, Corrado Parducci, in the building's magnificent lobby, which was an adaptation of the interior of a castle he had visited in Palermo, Sicily. Parducci also designed light fixtures and chandeliers, decorative arches, medallions, plaster decorations, and a myriad of other artistic details that are unique to the many varied spaces in the building.

Click here for a 25-panorama tour of this spectacular building!
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