Detroit Masonic Temple

Detroit Masonic Temple
Detroit Masonic Temple
Detroit Masonic Temple
Location: 500 Temple St., Detroit, Michigan,
 United States
Coordinates: 42°20′29.11″N 83°3′36.56″W / 42.3414194°N 83.0601556°W / 42.3414194; -83.0601556Coordinates: 42°20′29.11″N 83°3′36.56″W / 42.3414194°N 83.0601556°W / 42.3414194; -83.0601556
Built: 1922
Architect: George Mason
Architectural style: Neo-gothic architecture
Governing body: Detroit Masonic Temple Association
Part of: Cass Park Historic District (#04001580)
NRHP Reference#: 80001920
SHPO #: P25067
Significant dates
Added to NRHP: November 11, 1980
Designated SHPO: January 24, 1964
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The Detroit Masonic Temple is the world's largest Masonic Temple.[1] Located in the Cass Corridor of Detroit, Michigan, at 500 Temple Street, the building serves as a home to various masonic organizations including the York Rite Sovereign College of North America.[2] The Masonic Temple Theatre is a venue for concerts, Broadway shows, and other special events in the Detroit Theater District. Architect George Mason designed the theatre which contains a 55-foot (17 m)-by-100-foot stage. Detroit Masonic Temple was designed in the neo-gothic architectural style, using a great deal of limestone. The cornerstone was placed on September 19, 1922, using the same trowel that George Washington had used to set the cornerstone of the United States Capitol in Washington D.C.. The building was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1926. The building contains 14 floors, stands 210 ft (64 m) tall, and has 1037 units/rooms inside. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980,[3] and it is also a contributing property in the Cass Park Historic District.



The Masonic Temple Association was incorporated in Detroit in 1894. It moved into its first temple, on Lafayette Boulevard at First Street, in 1896. Outgrowing these quarters, the Association purchased land on Bagg Street (now Temple Avenue) to build a new temple that would also include a public theatre. Fund-raising for construction of the building raised $2.5 million, and ground-breaking took place on Thanksgiving Day, 1920.[4]


Architect Mason

The Detroit Masonic Temple is the largest Masonic Temple in the world. The Masonic Temple Theatre used to seat 5,000. However due to poor sight lines along the sides of the stage (the auditorium has a horseshoe shaped auditorium, rather than a fan shaped auditorium of most theatres), and obstructed views (pillars), nearly 600 seats are never sold or have been removed. So maximum seating becomes 4,404. This is one of the finest theatres in the United States. The large complex includes a 14-story 210-foot (64 m) ceremonial building connected to a 10-story Shrine Club by the 7-story Auditorium Building. In between are a 1,586-seat Scottish Rite Cathedral, a 17,500-square-foot (1,630 m2) drill hall used for trade shows, conventions, Detroit Derby Girls roller derby bouts, and a floating floor, plus two ballrooms—one of which measures 17,264 square feet (1,603.9 m2) and accommodates up to 1,000 people. There is also an unfinished theatre in the top floor of the tower that was never completed, and would seat about 900. It is used for storage.

The complex is located in an area known as Cass Corridor, across Temple Street from Cass Park, and can be seen from Cass Tech. The Detroit Masonic Temple was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Architect George Mason designed the theatre, which contains a 55-foot (17 m)-by-100-foot stage. Detroit Masonic Temple was designed in the neo-gothic architectural style, and is faced with Indiana limestone.[4] Although there are few Masonic buildings in the Gothic style, the architect believed that Gothic best exemplified Masonic traditions.[4]

Much of the stone, plaster and metal work in the interior of the building was designed and executed by architectural sculptor Corrado Parducci. The three figures over the main entrance were by Leo Friedlander while the rest of the considerable architectural sculpture on the exterior was by Bill Gehrke.


  1. ^ Alex Lundberg, Greg Kowalski: Detroit's Masonic Temple, Arcadia Pub., 2006.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  4. ^ a b c Zietz, Karyl Lynn (1996). The National Trust Guide to Great Opera Houses in America, p. 103. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3. 
  • Kvaran, Einar Einarsson. Architectural Sculpture in America. unpublished. 
  • Lundberg, Alex and Greg Kowalski (2006). Detroit's Masonic Temple. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 073854034X. 
  • Meyer, Katherine Mattingly and Martin C.P. McElroy with Introduction by W. Hawkins Ferry, Hon A.I.A. (1980). Detroit Architecture A.I.A. Guide Revised Edition. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1651-4. 
  • Masonic Temple:A.D. 1926, A.L. 5926. no publisher listed. 1926. 

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