Masonic Temple (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
A National Historic Landmark, the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia is one of the most architecturally significant Free Mason buildings in existence. The building was constructed in 1873 and attracts thousands of visitors to tour the building inspired by multiple centuries of historically significant events that have occurred here. The Temple is still in use today as the main headquarters of the Pennsylvania branch of the Masonic Great Lodge.
Backstory and Context
In an attempt to build a base of operations in the city of Philadelphia, the order of Free Masons bought a plot of land in the city on July 1, 1867. Once the land was purchased, a contest was held to decide who would serve as the architect for the Temple, and James Windrim, a 27-year-old Mason, won. The next year, on June 24, 1868, the granite cornerstone of the building was laid, and construction could begin on the Temple. On September 26, 1873, the Temple was completed, and its completion was celebrated with a grand Masonic parade.
The architectural design of the Temple comes from centuries of design history. Some areas the Temple borrow architectural design from are Egypt, Assyria, Athens, Rome, Jerusalem, the Temple of the Dioscuri, the Temple of Vesta, and the Roslyn Chapel. Today, the Temple receives many visitors to marvel at its design, and it is still used for different Masonic meetings and practices.
Pitts, Carolyn. "Philadelphia's Masonic Temple." National Register of Historic Places: Nomination Form. August 10, 1984. Accessed October 08, 2017. https://npgallery.nps.gov/pdfhost/docs/NHLS/Text/71000727.pdf.