seven-story Classical Revival-style building—fronted by three-story-tall
columns—is a prominent landmark in the Englewood neighborhood. It was built
as a clubhouse and auditorium for a fraternal organization, which occupied
the building through the 1950s. Its six meeting rooms and auditoriums are
ornamented in a variety of styles, including Art Deco, Beaux Arts Classical,
Egyptian Revival, and Islamic Revival. It was designed by the architect of
many of Chicago’s park fieldhouses including Gompers, Greenbriar,
Independence, Indian Boundary, Jefferson, Portage, Revere, and River parks.
The building is orange-rated (second highest level of architectural
significance) in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey.
Current Condition and/or Status:
After a failed effort in the late 1990s to redevelop the building as an
alternative high school for at-risk teens, the building was purchased by a
private developer hoping to do a residential or office conversion – a
project that has never come to fruition. Although vacant for over two
decades, the concrete-frame building remains structurally stable. This
summer, after loose bricks fell off the building, scaffolding was
constructed around it to protect pedestrians. Water infiltration and falling
bricks continue to be a problem.
Potential Threat: If a renovation
is not planned soon, the building’s deteriorating state will further
threaten its opportunity for reuse. The city’s building court is monitoring
the structure for building code violations.
What You Can Do: Inform the local
alderman that this historic Masonic Temple is an important part of the
architectural history of the Englewood community and to work with the owner
and city officials to help find a solution.
Photo 1: David Schalliol