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Riverside Place | The History of Masonic Lodge #34

The Masonic Temple is a significant example of Neo-Classical Revival architecture in Spokane. Considered one of the grandest fraternal lodges in the west, it exemplifies the disciplined classicism that evolved from the Beaux-Arts movement and the influence of the Columbian Exposition of 1893.   A principal structure in the Riverside Avenue National Historic District, the Masonic Temple is representative of the City Beautiful movement as it was expressed in Spokane.  


Historically and architecturally significant, the building drew on the talents of many of Spokane’s most influential and prominent citizens during its construction and development.  It is a reflection of the importance of the fraternal and social organizations to the fabric of the community during its growing years.  Originally completed in 1905 and expanded in 1925, the Temple was the collaborative effort of two prominent Spokane architects, John K. Dow and Loren L. Rand. –

The Temple features eighteen freestanding columns of the Corinthian Order rising two stories high from a central loggia. Along the length of the loggia, tall windows with peacock fanlights look out onto Riverside Avenue. On either end of the loggia and colonnade are large entrance pavilions, their double doors decorated with carved Masonic emblems. Busts of Semmut, an ancient Egyptian architect, guard the doorways.

President Theodore Roosevelt turned the first shovelfuls of earth at groundbreaking ceremonies in 1903. In response to Spokane’s Masonic Orders, the building is trapezoidal in shape, with a north face that raised five stories above the slope of Main Avenue. The north facade repeats the colonnade found on the front, but with a canopied entrance.

Behind the classical splendor of the facade are equally grand interior spaces, with much of their original historic character carefully preserved. Staircases and hallways that feature marble and oak lead to a series of fraternal meeting rooms. The original building’s four stories contain a small banquet room at the lower level, a Ball Room one floor above, and the two story “Blue Room” one floor above that. The Blue room retains its original Egyptian decor, with papyrus columns and symbolic motifs. Above the Blue Room, and it’s gallery level, is the Rose Room and it’s parlor. Looking down on Riverside Avenue, these rooms, like the Blue Room and the Main Parlor, contain original mahogany furniture.

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