The Masonic Temple, Chicago, Illinois, USA 1892

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THE MASONIC TEMPLE, CHICAGO — The wonders of Chicago cannot be enumerated or illustrated in any limited space. A volume might be devoted to them. Some of its buildings are noble specimens of architecture, the beauty and the majesty of which would be more easily recognized and universally acknowledged but for the veil of smoke which mars to some degree their true effectiveness. Among the famous structures of Chicago, and one of the loftiest buildings in the world, is the Masonic Temple, at the corner of State and Randolph Streets. It is no less than twenty stories high! It requires an effort to look up to its roof, which is 265 feet above the pavement! If Bunker Hill monument were placed beside this, the Temple would surpass it in altitude by forty-five feet. The three lower stories are made of granite, above which the material used is a gray fire-brick. Its various pillars and arches are massive and imposing. Within this Temple is a vast court extending to the very roof, its sides all faced with variously colored marble. On one side a magnificent bronze staircase rises to the upper story. The floors are of mosaic, the walls of onyx, marble or polished oak. Fourteen passenger elevators are in constant use. In the basement is a fine restaurant. Several floors are utilized as places for attractive shops, after the style of many “Passages” or “Galleries” in Europe. The last five upper stories are sacred to Masonry, and their decorations are worthy of this superb and unrivalled home of the order. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

In 1939 the Masonic Temple was demolished, in part due to its poor internal services, but also due to the construction of the new State Street subway, which would have necessitated expensive foundation retrofitting. A two-story “taxpayer” housing a Walgreens drug store was erected in its place, and the Joffrey Tower currently stands on the former site of this building. (from Wikipedia)



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