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. (Scroll down to view panorama of 1922 Cornerstone Ceremony)
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.
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 to take a 360 virtual tour of this amazing building/complex.