The Detroit Masonic Temple was designed by famed architect George Mason, who also designed the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and the Ransom Gillis House ( you can see my post about the house HERE), with his partner Zachariah Rice. The cornerstone of the temple 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.
There is a myth that architect George Mason went broke funding the construction and his wife left him so he climbed to the top of the building and jumped off, but that is not true. He lived to be 92 years old and died in 1948. The building has over 1,000 rooms, and several secret staircases, concealed passages, and hidden compartments in the floors and strange things are said to happen, but I just think the old temple has a hunting beauty to it.
The Detroit Masonic Temple has been the largest Masonic Temple in the world since 1939, when the Chicago Masonic Temple was demolished. The stage of the auditorium is the second largest in the United States. The building houses two ballrooms: the Crystal Ballroom and the Fountain Ballroom which measures 17,264 square feet and accommodates up to 1,000 people. There is also an unfinished theater located in the top floor of the tower, that would have seated about 700. Several movies have been filmed on location at the temple including Batman vs Superman ( there’s 3 hours of my life I will never get back) A 17,500-square-foot drill hall has a floating floor, where the entire floor is laid on felt cushions. This type of construction, also known as a sprung floor, provides ‘give’ to the floor which tends to relieve the marchers.
In April 2013, the building was reported to be in foreclosure over $152,000 in back taxes owed to Wayne County. The debt was paid off by singer-songwriter Jack White, a Detroit native known for his work with The White Stripes. He wanted to help the temple in its time of need as they had helped his mother in a time of need. The temple gave her a job as an usher in the theater when she was struggling to find work. In response, the Detroit Masonic Temple Association renamed its Scottish Rite cathedral the Jack White Theater.
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