Why "For Sale" Sign In Front of Downtown Masonic Temple Came Down This Week

Masonic Temple (Dallas).jpg
Via Baylor Lodge 1235
For some -- local preservationists, say, or music fans -- one of the biggest stories of 2011 was First Presbyterian Church's purchase of 508 Park Avenue; at last, the long-ago Brunswick Records regional office in which Robert Johnson, Bob Wills and possibly Charlie Parker recorded no longer had that hellhound on its trail. Just this morning, the Rev. Dr. Bruce Buchanan, First Presby's associate pastor, told me plans for its redo -- which will include a recording studio -- continue apace.

"It's moving along very positively," Buchanan tells Unfair Park. "We meet every week. We have funding in place to do what we proposed to do when we went to Landmark Commission and are looking at a full range of possibilities, including the stdio, which is very much a part of the plan, along with a museum. We've brainstormed about this whole quadrant of downtown, and we hope what we do at 508 Park will be the genesis of a rebirth of the area."

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Via.
Inside the Masonic Temple
Which brings me to the reason I called Buchanan in the first place: There have been rumors circulating in recent days that First Presby is also eying the adjacent Masonic Temple on Harwood, which has been on and off the market since 2006 and remains listed on LoopNet for $2.5 million. Till this week, matter of fact, a for-sale sign's been in front of the building near the downtown farmers market. It came down just yesterday.

But, no, Buchanan says: The church had looked at purchasing the 70-year-old building, but eventually backed off. "It's a beautiful building, and the inside is wonderful too, and for the right purpose and the right user it would be a wonderful home," he says. "But we're not actively looking. We're focusing on 508 and the property surrounding it."

A few phone calls later I discovered that the building's off the market because it's now in the hands of the historic Tannehill Lodge, which was organized in Dallas in May 1849 and is considered the city's "mother lodge."

"Tannehill Lodge 52, along with some others, bought them out on the temple," secretary Gary Hill told me this morning. "There was some talk of a contract with First Presbyterian, and that hasn't happened. Now, if somebody walked in with a whole lot more money than we wanted, we'd sell to them." He laughs. "But we've been comfortable here for a long time, and we're not planning on going anywhere."
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secrets societies
secrets societies

Masonic lodge one man regards another person whom he has just met for the first time as a long-lost friend. The Masons who gather there were not born to be different from other men. Each has his own cross to bear; each has enough sin in his past to condemn him. Yet, there is something special about the purpose-driven lives noticeable in the people who comprise the congregation.

Myrna Minkoff-Katz
Myrna Minkoff-Katz

That group of buildings on Harwood, that escaped the maniacal fools that tore down most of the city, is a treasure to downtown. I hope the area in between them fills up with a better class of  housing and stores.

Lolotehe
Lolotehe

What, the local O.T.O. couldn't scrape something together for this building? I guess having rituals in someone's garage is better....

Jessica
Jessica

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GustavonW
GustavonW

For some reason this building always reminds me of the Stonecutter Lodge from The Simpsons.

Who controls the British crown? Who keeps the metric system down? We do, we do!Who keeps Atlantis off the maps? Who keeps the Martians under wraps? We do, we do!Who holds back the electric car? Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star? We do, we do!Who robs cavefish of their sight? Who rigs every Oscar night? We do, we do, we do!'

Rangers100
Rangers100

Dammit. I was going to post this.

+1 to you instead.

Jedis54
Jedis54

I wish my masonic jurisdiction could buy it.

phe_75034
phe_75034

Is anyone actually using the building? If at all recent, the picture sure makes it look like it's maintained and in use.

It seems like there's be a brazillion different possible uses, with the kitchen already in there. You'd think anything built out of rock and steel would stand up to some heavy-duty interior remodeling without too much trouble. If the area does actually turn into something, it could be one hell of a spot.

williamedia
williamedia

I assume you meant "bought them out on the temple" not "brought" 

So they are just buying it to sit on it? I guess its better than tearing it down. I still think it would be cool for a smaller theater troupe to convert it to a small downtown venue but there is already one almost dead historic theater, Majestic, and the City Performance Hall will eventually have a couple smaller theaters in the second phase so it might be too much glut of performance space until the density around Downtown becomes much stronger. Maybe they could call it the Temple Theater.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Indeed -- a typo. Bought. And long ago, I'd hoped someone would buy the temple and 508 Park and turn it into a music complex -- a studio-museum-store-performance space combo platter. Alas.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

I would prefer brought them out....

Besides isn't that the home of the Illuminaughty?

Bob
Bob

It's a great building; hope no one decides to tear it down.

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