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Unveiling the Magnificence: The Storied Legacy of Washington, D.C.'s Masonic Temple

Unveiling the Magnificence: The Storied Legacy of Washington, D.C.'s Masonic Temple


The Masonic Temple at 9th and F Streets in Washington, D.C., holds significant historical importance as the first major private building constructed after the Civil War. It was successfully protected under the District's Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978.


President Andrew Johnson, a master mason, participated in the cornerstone-laying ceremony in May 1868.


The renowned architect Adolf Cluss, originally from Germany, designed the building, which showcased stunning features in the French Renaissance style.


These included decorative elements like lion heads, angel faces, swords, shields, and other captivating embellishments.


The grand hall on the second floor could accommodate up to 1,000 guests, making it the largest public gathering space in the city upon its completion in 1869.


Throughout its history, the temple has housed various tenants. It served as a significant location for early advocates of the temperance movement, in addition to its role as a Masonic center. The ground level housed businesses such as the Temple Cafe.


Later, it became home to the Strayer College Business School, which moved into the temple in 1909. In 1921, the Julius Lansburgh Furniture Company made significant interior modifications after acquiring the building in 1926.


They occupied the temple until 1970 when it remained vacant for four years before being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


At one point, a developer intended to demolish the building and replace it with a parking lot. However, due to the protection provided by the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act, the temple was spared. This act came into effect in March 1979.


By 1992, sufficient funds had been accumulated to restore the building. Subsequently, a plan was implemented to construct a new, modern office building adjacent to the original temple.


As of 2000, the 40,000-square-foot temple is connected to an eight-story building through a glass atrium and several bridges.


It is worth noting that the Grand Lodge of Masons in Washington, D.C. was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 8, 1974.


Know Before You Go:

  • The Grand Lodge of Masons in Washington, D.C. is listed on the National Register of Historic Places since May 8, 1974.

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