Decatur Masonic Temple: 2024 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois


224 W. William St.
Decatur, Macon County

Year built



Holabird & Roche

Current owner

TRS of Masonic Temple Association


(Photo credit: Kim Mangan)

Why is this place important?

Decatur’s Masonic Temple, designed in 1927 by renowned architects Holabird & Roche, functioned as a community center for the city and greater Central Illinois region throughout the 20th century, hosting cultural events and speakers like Eleanor Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Richard Nixon. Originally built with a 1,000-person ballroom, 1200-seat auditorium and state-of-the-art kitchen, the Masonic Temple is a stunning example of monumental Art Deco architecture and, at its opening, was praised as a modern work of art by the then-director of the Art Institute. Today, it stands as a symbol of civic virtue in the built environment.


(Photo credit: History of the Heartland)


The Masonic Temple has suffered deterioration as the Masonic community and Decatur have both seen population decreases. Despite this loss, the building has successfully functioned over the years as a community center, hosting group meetings, weddings, concerts and other gatherings. However, current event frequency does not generate enough income to adequately maintain the Masonic Temple, and water leaks in 2018 and 2022 created hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

(Photo credit: Kim Mangan)


Community members have plans to revitalize the Masonic Temple, making it a vibrant cultural center once again. Located in Decatur’s historic district, preservation of the structure would enable the creation of a new business plan to house a pantheon of Decatur historic interest groups and related public events and displays. New revenue-generating activities and engagement with a range of community interest groups could provide additional funding to address deferred maintenance, ensuring the Masonic Temple once again becomes a site for community building and connection.


(Photo credit: History of the Heartland)


Contact History of the Heartland to see how you can best support its mission to preserve Decatur’s civic life. Email to express your interest.

(Photo credit: Kim Mangan)

Terry Howley

Former Decatur Mayor

“The successful preservation and repurposing of the historic Masonic Temple is an important project for Decatur. This Art Deco icon designed by famed Chicago architects Holabird & Roche stands as a gateway between downtown and other historic district sites. The reuse of the temple as a means of commemorating and celebrating Decatur’s storied past will provide a uniquely suited space for many groups. It will foster collaboration and community spirit, as originally intended by the builders, in a modern context. I look forward to its redevelopment with great anticipation.”


(Photo credit: Kim Mangan)

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