A showcase of grand, almost mythical, architecture and design
The Temple is one of the more magnificent buildings in the city from the outside, its Norman cathedral-like exterior rising wondrously across the street from City Hall. But its interior architecture is amazing and varied. Oriental Hall, for instance, replicates part of the Alhambra, with its Moorish grille-like features. Gothic Hall has royal high-backed 19th Century hand-carved oak chairs and is a grand homage to the European Knights Templar.
The grand staircases are lined with stately paintings of former Masonic Grand Masters and the hallways are lined with many painted wood sculptures by William Rush, considered the father of American sculpture. The library/museum has artifacts like George Washington’s Masonic apron, which was embroidered by the wife of the Marquis de Lafayette.
Take a virtual tour with this amazing slideshow on Flickr by RKimberly.
Ben Designed by architect James Windrim, the Masonic Temple was constructed over a period of five years – completed in 1873 – at the astonishingly sum of $1.6 million. The process of decorating the interior, performed mostly under the supervision of artist George Herzog, took nearly twenty years to complete. The Masonic Temple is the headquarters for the Grand Lodge of F. & A.M. of Pennsylvania, and also serves as the meeting place for twenty-eight Philadelphia lodges. Freemasonry is the oldest continuously existing fraternal organization in the world.
Open Tuesday – Friday with tours 11 a.m. and 2 and 3 p.m. Open Sat (except July and August) with tours at 10 and 11 a.m. Call ahead to confirm.
Make certain your tour guide dims the interior lights in the center of the building so you can better see the backlit stars etched in glass in the ceiling above.
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