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 now the headquarters for the Grand Lodge of F. & A.M. of Pennsylvania, and it also serves as the meeting place for 28 Philadelphia lodges.
With its Norman cathedral-like exterior rising wondrously across the street from City Hall, the Masonic Temple is one of the more magnificent buildings in the city.
The interior architecture of the Masonic Temple is both amazing and varied.
Completed in 1873, the Masonic Temple took five years and $1.6 million to build.
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.
When tour guides dim the interior lights in the center of the building, visitors can better see the backlit stars etched in glass in the ceiling above.
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