Retro Charlotte

Egyptian Revival architecture on Tryon Street

“Shriners Elect New Officers -- The new officers and the past potentates of Oasis Temple of the Shrine, which held its annual ceremonial here yesterday, are shown. First row, left to right, are: Lee A. Folger of Charlotte, past potentate; David J. Craig of Charlotte, new potentate; John J. Phoenix of Greensboro, retiring potentate; John C. Sikes of Monroe, past potentate; W.S. Liddell of Charlotte, past potentate; H.D. Horton of Charlotte, marshal; Ralph Schmucker of Charlotte, director. Standing on the second row, left to right, are: James O. Walker of Charlotte, past potentate, U. Henry Green of Monroe, past potentate; Dr. J.B. Whittington of Winston-Salem, past potentate; Julian Price of Greensboro, past potentate; Frank L. Moser of Charlotte, treasurer; Claude A. Cochran of Charlotte, chief rabban; Thomas Griffith of Charlotte, recorder; J.S. Winget of Gastonia, Oriental guide; Roy F. Ebbs of Asheville, assistant rabban; A.J. Gocking of Charlotte, second ceremonial master; C.E. Cotton of Asheville, past potentate; W.Y. Warren of Gastonia, past potentate; and J.W. Grimes of Asheville, past potentate.” January, 1934.
“Shriners Elect New Officers -- The new officers and the past potentates of Oasis Temple of the Shrine, which held its annual ceremonial here yesterday, are shown. First row, left to right, are: Lee A. Folger of Charlotte, past potentate; David J. Craig of Charlotte, new potentate; John J. Phoenix of Greensboro, retiring potentate; John C. Sikes of Monroe, past potentate; W.S. Liddell of Charlotte, past potentate; H.D. Horton of Charlotte, marshal; Ralph Schmucker of Charlotte, director. Standing on the second row, left to right, are: James O. Walker of Charlotte, past potentate, U. Henry Green of Monroe, past potentate; Dr. J.B. Whittington of Winston-Salem, past potentate; Julian Price of Greensboro, past potentate; Frank L. Moser of Charlotte, treasurer; Claude A. Cochran of Charlotte, chief rabban; Thomas Griffith of Charlotte, recorder; J.S. Winget of Gastonia, Oriental guide; Roy F. Ebbs of Asheville, assistant rabban; A.J. Gocking of Charlotte, second ceremonial master; C.E. Cotton of Asheville, past potentate; W.Y. Warren of Gastonia, past potentate; and J.W. Grimes of Asheville, past potentate.” January, 1934. The Charlotte Observer

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.

“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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