DescriptionIn 1869, the Freemasons finished a new Grand Lodge for the State of Maryland on Charles Street in downtown Baltimore, with each room more decorated than the last. Originally designed by Edmund G. Lind, who also designed the Peabody Institute in the Mount Vernon neighborhood, the Masonic Temple is a testament to architectural wonder.
The building boasts what seem like miles of marble floors, stained-glass windows, painted ceilings, and decorative columns. The building's primary 19 rooms have names that portray a litany of architectural styles and historical frameworks that were important to the Masons: Oriental Room, Marble Room, Corinthian Room, and even an Edinburgh Hall. Each is done in a different architectural style and glamor. The building, completed in 1869, caught fire on Christmas Day 1890 and again in January of 1908. Although much of the interior was destroyed, the thick walls saved the structure and the decorations were brought back each time.
The Masons completed repairs to the building in 1909 following a design by Joseph Evans Sperry, who also designed the city's landmark Bromo Seltzer Tower. The building then spent over eighty years with little outward drama until the Masons moved out to a new headquarters in 1994. The city spent the next few years devising plans to raze the structure for a parking garage. Luckily, the William C. Smith Company bought the building in 1998 and with the help of architects Murphy and Dittenhafer, completed a complete overhaul following exacting preservation standards. The building today serves as a stunning conference facility.