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Masonic Temple, Philadelphia

Religious Site · Hidden Gem · Library
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The Masonic Temple is a historic Masonic building in Philadelphia. Located at 1 North Broad Street, directly across from Philadelphia City Hall, it serves as the headquarters of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Free and Accepted Masons. The Temple features the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania, and receives thousands of visitors every year to view the ornate structure, which includes seven lodge rooms, where today a number of Philadelphia lodges and the Grand Lodge conduct their meetings.

The Temple was designed in the medieval Norman style by James H. Windrim, who was 27 years old at the time he won the design competition. The massive granite cornerstone, weighing ten tons, was leveled on St. John the Baptist's Day, June 24, 1868. The ceremonial gavel used on that day by Grand Master Richard Vaux was the same gavel used by President George Washington in leveling the cornerstone of the nation's Capitol building in 1793.

The construction was completed five years later, in 1873. The interior, designed by George Herzog, was begun in 1887 and took another fifteen years to finish.
The bold and elaborate elevations on Broad and Filbert Streets, especially the beautiful portico of Quincy granite, make it one of the great architectural wonders of Philadelphia. The exterior stone of the building on Broad and Filbert Streets is Cape Ann Syenite from Syne in Upper Egypt.

On May 27, 1971, the Temple was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985. It was cited in its landmark designation as one of the nation's most elaborate examples of Masonic architecture.
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Masonic Temple reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
644 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Excellent, in formative and interesting to see the way in which the Masons differ from GT Britian in many respects 
    Excellent, in formative and interesting to see the way in which the Masons differ from GT Britian in many respects  more »
  • An opulent building and one of the most interesting tours I've done on this particular trip to the USA. Our guide paced things perfectly, explaining the details of each room and answering any... 
    An opulent building and one of the most interesting tours I've done on this particular trip to the USA. Our guide paced things perfectly, explaining the details of each room and answering any...  more »
  • Very cool, giant statue of Ben Franklin in the main hall. Lots of interesting history of the Masons. Great artifacts from American history 
    Very cool, giant statue of Ben Franklin in the main hall. Lots of interesting history of the Masons. Great artifacts from American history  more »
Google
  • I came here by bus on a Tuesday morning in late June 2022. You're only allowed access to the building through a guided tour. I would only recommend this place if you have an interest in the Masonic Fraternity or the building. I found it fascinating. The entire tour was less about the history of the organization and more an advertisement of the dinner rooms and banquet halls they have for rent. Don't get me wrong, they were amazing, but I had to ask all the pressing questions I had in order to get the answers I was seeking - they did not offer it. I came in not knowing anything about the Free Masons. The architecture is really grand and at times jaw-dropping. They provide an hour-long tour each hour (see times online). Bring your student ID for a discount.
  • Really amazing from an architectural/design standpoint, though you realize how much master builders can make one thing look like another. Most of the folks (all men) I was on the tour with seemed to have some sort of masonic connection, but it's worth a look even if you don't have one. It's really stunning on the level of grand palaces overseas. That being said, it's basically a series of meeting halls that masonic groups can rent, they're all set up very similarly and some of the goings-on hold an air of secrecy which can be a little creepy. I found the guy at the front desk to be a little curt, but I think that's more a Philadelphia thing that anything else - I'm from the south and prefer a little more effusive kindness. But in the end, it's a bunch of freedom-loving master architects showing off what they do best, and it's really stunning to look at and well worth the hour and $15 it would cost you.
  • A beautiful architectural building, with plenty to see, such as paintings, statues, artifacts. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly, seemed to really enjoy what he was doing. I would definitely return, could spend hours and hours here and constantly find new things and admiring the craft.
  • OMG a serious find! A must see! Incredible Free Mason and Knight’s Templar rooms! Worldly architecture that you would never expect to see. So glad we stumbled upon it in Philadelphia!!
  • I lived in the area for decades and went for the first time today. $15 for adults, 1 hour tour This is a first-class tour where you visit rooms including the Norman Hall, Oriental Hall, banquet room where weddings and other functions are held, before returning to the Exhibit Hall (original library room). Energetic tour guide, we had brother John, will answer questions throughout and share corny jokes I loved. Look for George Washington's apron and Ben Franklin's sash.

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