Masonic Temple

MASONIC TEMPLE-DeLand

 

 Masonic Temple   Wm. J. Carpenter Architect   1926

 Wm. J. Carpenter designed the three-story Masonic Temple at 142 S. Woodland Boulevard in  DeLand, Florida.  When it was completed in 1926 it was recognized as the finest lodge facility in the State of Florida.  The entire city was proud of this new building; so much so that The DeLand Sun News devoted an entire special section to the dedication on June 2, 1926. (On microfilm in the Volusia County Library in DeLand.)

 Review of this publication has given us one of the most complete media articles covering any of architect Wm. J. Carpenter’s designs that we have found in our research.  The interviews with the architects, lodge members, suppliers and other citizens provided valuable insight into the importance of this building to the Lodge and the City of DeLand.

 The building served the needs of the Lodge and tenants until the Lodge lost it in bankruptcy proceedings after the end of the Florida Land Boom about 1928. It has served many functions in the community, but little was recorded about its subsequent history until 2001, when it was purchased by a local entrepreneur and a major renovation was commenced.

The task proved too burdensome for the purchaser and the building was sold again about 2007.  Renovations to the interior are continuing, and it appears that the present owners will carry through on plans to create a viable modern environment within this historic structure.  No changes to the exterior appear to be in the offing. (We note here that the only change to the original exterior design is the closing in of SE corner, which was originally open for use as a pass through for buses of Florida Motor Lines.

Early photographs showing the Bus Station corner before & after being enclosed.     From DeLand Museum.

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE from the Florida State Site Survey of 1986:

This three-story masonry vernacular commercial building is located at 142 South Woodland Boulevard.  It has a hip roof with a stepped parapet in the center of the front façade.  Four brick pilasters separate a three-bay façade.  Each bay has an arched white stone design over stepped pyramid and vertical panels with flower designs.  The first story has a large plate glass display window and a recessed entranceway.

The same pattern is carried around the corner to the exposed south side, except there are four bays, and an entrance door which led to the second floor facilities of the Masonic Lodge.

 The cornerstone of this building was laid September 14, 1925.  Originally constructed as the Masonic Lodge, the building was designed by Carpenter and Bent, local architects, and constructed by Leo Alshiemer, a DeLand general contractor.  The second floor originally contained parlors and a large banquet room.  The Florida Motor Lines, a statewide bus service, moved its DeLand offices into the building shortly after construction.  H. M. Heard moved the Orange Belt Pharmacy, later the Volusia Pharmacy, into the building as well.  Local Bond Sandstone Brick was used in the construc tion…

CARPENTER & BENT ASSOCIATION

  The DeLand Sun News article is the first mention we have of Francis H. Bent as an Associate or Partner of Wm. J. Carpenter in DeLand. Further investigation revealed that Bent played a part in the marketing and supervisory functions of the partnership, but Mr. Carpenter was the principal architect and creator of the architectural designs until the partnership was dissolved as a result of the “Bust” at the end of the Florida Land Boom about 1927.

 PROPERTY APPRAISAL

 Public information from the Volusia County Property Appraiser’s Office (2002) describes the first floor of the building as being of concrete/masonry wall construction, with 100% brick exterior wall.  The ground floor area is shown as 4574 square feet. The property was purchased in 2001 for $295,000.  The assessed value of the property and land is shown as $246,087, an increase from $212,920 in 1999, which speaks well for the inherent worth of the building which cost $55,000 to construct in 1925.

 ART EXHIBITIONS

 In 2002 a gallery showing of selected watercolors painted by the architect while practicing in Deland was held in a mock-up of his 1920s First National Bank Building office, recreated on the second floor of this building, during the DeLand Fall Art Show of Nov. 23, 24, 2002.

 About twenty five selected paintings by WJC which were either painted in DeLand or Daytona or related to his architectural works in those areas were displayed.  The exhibit included information on his designs in Pittsburgh and St. Petersburg prior to his coming to DeLand, as well as on about 20 of the commercial buildings and schools he is known to have designed in the Volusia County area.

 The exhibition was arranged in an area on the second floor of this building which was used as the main entry by the lodge members for access to their meeting chambers on the third floor. This area, about 20 X 30 feet was set up much as his studios of the 1920s and ’30s, including drafting boards and painting easels. The exhibit also included books from his library, a surveyor’s compass that he used in his field work, one of his drafting boards, and personal photos of his family.

 All exhibited paintings were original works by Wm. J. Carpenter except for a designated Print Gallery section in the studio that was devoted to prints of selected Florida garden and beach scene paintings by the artist. 

 The exhibition was arranged hurriedly, to coincide with the DeLand Fall Arts Festival, and  there was not time to arrange for advance publicity.  Even so, about two hundred visitors found their way to the exhibit (the main doorway to the building opened onto the sidewalk area devoted to the Art Festival).  The majority of these visitors expressed interest in the history of the paintings and building designs, and was amazed that one man could have contributed so much to the architectural history of DeLand with so little recognition.  Many of them expressed their feelings that they were glad an effort was being made to assure that he would be The UnForgotten Man.

 Another exhibition was held with the cooperation of the new owners in December 2007 at the Grand Opening of THE MIX Salon & Spa during the ongoing renovation.  This exhibition was reported in the Beacon News of
Feb. 3, 2009.        http://www.beacononlinenews.com/news/daily/1460>.

 Thanks for looking.  For more information please contact me.  Jack

 

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5 Comments »

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  1. I FOUND THIS ARTICLE VERY INTERESTING ABOUT THE DESIGNING PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT. I AM SAD THAT THIS 3 STORY BUILDING DID NOT CONTINUE AS A MASONIC BUILDING. I WOULD NO DOUBT HAVE WENT AS A VISITING MASONIC BROTHER.

  2. One other tenant of the building was Mather’s Good & Bad Furniture Store during the 40’s and 50’s. It may have still been there during the 60’s. I’m not sure of the spelling of Mather’s.

    W. C. Walker

  3. My brother owned this building from 2001-2007. He would still own it if it was not for the deal he made to help out a tennant he had there. I’m sure he would love to do a interview on the time and effort put in to renovations to include the art gallery, a yoga studio and eventually a salon put in. I do remember the temple on the third floor with the many secret inlaid in the wood. At the top of one of the archways is a keyhole with no reason to be there. Halloween was always fun there with the haunted house that was offered to the public.

    • Clayton,

      Thanks for the comment. I had not heard about the ghosts before. Guess they are newer than my grandfather’s era. I met your brother in the building on my first visit and he gave me the grand tour and a bit of history. Later he set up an exhibit of my collection of water color paintings by WJC on the second floor during the Fall Art Festival. I’s too bad he could not complete his dreams for the building. Any comments or history he would like to add here will be welcomed. Jack


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