From 1915 to 1987 the soaring Masonic Temple held court on the corner of South Tryon and Third Street. The cost of the lot, building and equipment in 1913 was $122,750; the Egyptian-Revival style building was designed by local architect C. C. Hook. A fire in 1937 gutted the structure and, though it looked to be a total loss, the Temple was restored and rededicated in 1938. The building was ultimately demolished in 1987 after First Union acquired the property. The Wells Fargo plaza now occupies the space, across the street from Latta Arcade. Interestingly, the two massive columns from the facade have been installed on Dave Lyle Blvd. in Rock Hill, SC.
A story from April 23, 1915 describes the formal opening of the Temple:
“Hosts of people, including many hundreds of ladies, visited the Masonic Temple yesterday. It was the first opportunity the public had to get a glimpse of the interior and they availed themselves of the opportunity gladly.
“The Masonic brand of hospitality was of the most cordial kind. Prominent members of the fraternity devoted themselves to the comfort of the visitors, meeting them at the door and conducting them over the building. Beautiful music was rendered at the $3,500 pipe organ by Mr. H.J. Zehm and Mr. R.L. Keesler in both afternoon and evening. The building was gay with lights and the visitors explored it from top to bottom. Orchestral music was also furnished.
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“High expectations were aroused by the external beauty and quaintness of the architecture of the Temple, which is one of the handsomest in the country. These expectations were fully met by the attractiveness of the interior, where every possible need of the order and its members had seemingly been anticipated. The colored light effects were extremely beautiful. Refreshments, punch and cake, were served by the ladies of the Eastern Star ... red carnations, the souvenirs, were presented to the ladies.”
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