Built St. Louis > > Central Corridor > > Midtown > > Masonic Temple

The wall of architecture along the north side of Lindell continues with two grand masonic structures which sandwich a small but equally lavish building between them.

The Masonic Temple is one of the city's most picturesque buildings, a faux-Parthenon lifted into the sky. Its facades, either windowless or with relatively miniscule cut openings, give it an appearance of massiveness, permanence and impenetrability.

The vacant lot next door to the Masonic Temple was once occupied by the Castleman-Mackay Mansion, an 1897 building. The Victorian mansion was occupied by its original family until 1971, when it was purchased by the nearby Scottish Rite Cathedral, who had it demolished in 1982 to provide parking space and eliminate costly maintenance.

Today the stone retaining wall along N. Spring Street is the only remainder of the spendid old home.

The loss of the mansion is part of a trend that has permeated the entire Midtown area. Most of the major landmarks have survived -- but the urban context that surrounds them has largely been lost in recent decades. The result is a disintegrating streetscape, such as this seen here -- the view looking north from beside the Masonic Temple.

Amid this fragmented streetscape, the Masonic Temple looms as if immune to the changes around it. The Temple was designed by the office of Albert Groves and completed in 1926 as home to several Masonic organizations. It continues in that role today.

Image from the Historic American Buildings Survey.

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