Places that Matter

Masonic Temple

Masonic Temple
Hall for hire and home to Masons' meetings
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This imposing early-20th century Classical Revival building was created as the home for the Brooklyn Masons. It continues to serve as the headquarters for the organization's Grand Council as well as a rental hall for community functions.

Completed in 1906, the Brooklyn Masonic Temple was designed by the architectural firm of Lord & Hewlett. It was modeled on King Solomon's Temple, which is important to the Masons because of the biblical reference to its construction by master stonemasons. The Brooklyn Temple's striking exterior and elaborate interior have remained largely intact since it was originally built. Its eight-story facade is notable for its classical columns and terra cotta designs. The interior retains its original hand-operated elevator as well its elaborate decoration. The building includes two massive gathering spaces--a lower auditorium that holds 280 people and is often used for banquets, and an upper hall that can hold 700 people. It is part of New York City's Fort Greene Historic District.

Historically, masonry grew out of the medieval builders' guild and later transformed into a fraternal organization with charitable, educational, and social aspects. The Brooklyn Masonic Temple was originally home to the Brooklyn Masonic Guild, which met there along with its woman's auxiliary group, the Eastern Stars. Roughly 25 years ago the Temple became the home of the Empire State Grand Council of the Masons. Non-mason groups also rent out space in the building to hold events such as church meetings, anniversary parties, dances and fashion shows. Youth groups also hold activities there, and politicians, including George Pataki and Al Sharpton, have held functions and rallies in the building. In the past, the Temple was also known to host exciting jazz performances.

Sources:

New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Guide to New York City Landmarks. New York: John Wiley & Son, 2004.