Masonic Temple: Permanent home for the Orders of Masonry ready for occupancy, Brookings Register – Dec. 12, 1894

Courtesy photo: The Masonic Temple was built on what's now the corner of Third Street and Main Avenue.

Looking back ... In the words of the Brookings Register

The plans for the Masonic Temple were designed by Charles A. Dunham, of Burlington, Iowa.  The architecture is of the old English order.  It is a substantial building of stone and brick. The stones were squared and numbered in the quarries near Kasota and the brick are Monominee sand-rolled red cherry. The stone and brick work was done by Phillips & Bartlett, of Huron, the same contractors that built our public school building.  The combined efforts of the contractors have produced good results, and the Masonic temple will, for many years to come, stand as a monument to their abilities.

The building is situated at the corner of Main and Newton streets, facing the east and fronting on Main. It is entirely isolated from other buildings.  It is 50x85 feet and 65 feet to the top of the tower.  The tower is on the north-east corner and starts from the second floor.

The front half of the basement has been fitted up for restaurant purposes and will be occupied by Fred Harvey.  There is one room 22x35; a ladies’ parlor 20x22, and a kitchen 16x22.

The first floor has been divided into two stores, each 22x83, and 14 feet high in the clear.  The south half is occupied by C.E. West & Co., furniture dealers, and the north half will be occupied by C.A. Skinner & Co. merchantile.  The whole front is of heavy plate glass, with two large windows, one fronting on Newton Street facing north and the other facing the depot on the south, both set with heavy plate glass.  Four small windows provide additional light to the south.

A balcony covering a floor space of 24x26 feet will be found at the rear end of C.E. West & Co., and another extending along the north side 7x30.  This balcony is reached by a flight of steps leading up from near the center of the sales room.  These balconies are used for the display of upholstered furniture, couches, rockers, etc.

The south side of the sales room is occupied by handsome bedroom suites, while the north side is filled with beautiful racks, tables, and book-cases in endless variety.  Their display of wall paper and carpet samples is also conveniently and tastefully arranged.

Besides the main room they have a casket display room, 12x16, a work room, 12x16, and a basement room, 24x45 feet.  The basement, which is used for a storage room, has been fitted with heavy plank flooring, the ground having been first well covered with cement.

The second floor will be occupied by the Masons.  Entrance is gained through a door from Newton Street, on the north side and near the west end of the building.  

The ascent is made by a broad flight of polished oak steps, landing at once in the hall which is 6 feet wide and extends nearly through the building.

Immediately at the right and on the south side of the hall is the door opening into the reception room, a room 12x18, which is lighted by two large double windows, one facing west and the other south. The next door on the same side of the hall opens into the armory, which is 14x18 and has an “el” running back of the Tiler’s room of nearly the same size.  This room will be fitted up with a double row of lockers, having glass doors that will contain the handsome uniforms of the Knights Templar. 

Across the hall from the reception room is the door opening into the banquet hall, a room 20x24, and lighted by two large double windows, one facing north and the other west.  Large folding doors open into the hall on the east.  

Adjoining the banquet room is a kitchen 10x12, which is well lighted and has, opening out on the east end, a commodious china closet.

The lodge room proper occupies a floor space of 32x46 feet and is situated in the south-east corner.  It is lighted by four large double windows, two facing south and two east. The ceilings of this, as well as all the other rooms on this floor, are 16 feet high in the clear.  Opening off the lodge room on the west are the Tiler’s room, 10x12; preparation room, 8x10;  and a good-sized wardrobe for the use of the Blue Lodge.

The council chamber is a room 16x24 feet, and is connected with the lodge room by large folding doors.  It occupies the north-east corner and is one of the pleasantest rooms in the building.  The elliptic windows command a fine view of the city to the north and east.  A large wardrobe for the Commandery opens off this room, and folding doors open into the hall which leads to the banquet room.

On the right, as you advance from the council chamber, are numerous doors, two opening into wardrobes for the Eastern Star and Royal Arch Masons, also work rooms for the different orders of Masonry.

One feature, of considerable interest to Masons, is the middle chamber, which occupies a floor space of 10x22 feet. It is reached by a flight of winding stairs of polished red oak and is surrounded by a heavy railing of the same material, giving to it a very fine effect.

The woodwork throughout is of Georgia pine with hard oil finish.The doors and elliptic windows have a square finish, the upper corners of the window casings being set with panels. All of the door trimmings are of heavy bronze, made by the Yale & Towne Mfg. Co., and are the very best money can buy.  All of the windows have double sash and are hung with weights.  In There is probably not another temple in the west that will excel this one in completeness of detail, beauty of finish, and general usefulness.

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