PENNSYLVANIA - Philadelphia is known for the many Founding Fathers who were Freemasons; one such building that assisted with the Philadelphia mansions is the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, designed by James H. Windrim himself, a Freemason architect and designer of this landmark building.
The Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Windrim was just 27 when he won the Masonic Temple design competition of 1867 and secured himself its contract. He had already opened up his own architectural office in town. On St John the Baptist Day (June 24), 1868, completion would take fifteen more years! - its cornerstone was laid for construction to begin.
The exterior of the building features Norman architecture, a Romanesque subcategory that frequently maintains an ecclesiastical focus. This may not be a shock given that Masons originated as guilds of cathedral builders during medieval times. Cape Anne (Massachusetts) syenite and Fox Island granite from Maine were used for its exterior construction; each stone was squared, marked, and numbered before being shipped to Philadelphia for installation.
Once completed in 1873, the building became home to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania as its headquarters. Additionally, 28 Philadelphia lodges utilize it as meeting spaces as well as hosting weddings, galas, and other events there. As it has been designated a National Historic Landmark, it can also be visited.
Noteworthy is the Masonic Temple's exposure in Penn Square near City Hall; instead, this decision was not motivated by secrecy but by an intention to share their message with as many people as possible across Philadelphia and beyond.