Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Masonic Temple, 420 North Washington Avenue, Scranton, PA

A mamouth limestone structure of Gothic design, erected in 1927-30. It resembles an ancient castle. The design of the building was to be a monument to Masonry.

Construction of the Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral was begun in 1927. The building took three short years to finish. The Temple was inaugurated on January 2, 1930 when the first meeting was held in the building.
The temple-cathedral originally included an 1800 seat auditorium, a grand ballroom, an eight lane bowling alley, a library, a "Ladies Parlor," two formal lodge rooms, a billiard and card parlor, and a smaller theater / lodge hall combination. The auditorium and ballroom were intended for use by the Scranton community for various functions.

Now known as The Scranton Cultural Center At The Masonic Temple.
The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple is housed in one of the most glorious pieces of architecture to be found in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Originally built as the Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral, the building is significant as an example of the work of Raymond M. Hood (1881-1934), a prominent architect of the 1920s and early 1930s, and as a unique example of Neo-Gothic architecture in Scranton.

The Masonic Temple houses The Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Theatre with 1,866 seats, The Governor Robert P. Casey Library, a "Ladies Parlor" and a Grand Ballroom which can hold 2,700 for standup performances, Shopland Hall, a 600 seat theatre located on the 4th floor, Craftsmen Hall on the 3rd Floor as well as Snyder and Gazda Hall, serving as Lodge room for the Masonic Fraternity. Most of the facility is open for public usage and rental through the year. Visitors to Scranton can visit the Temple and take a tour that highlights the architecture of the building as well as its present day uses. There are ten levels of the building, only five of which can be accessed by elevator. The remaining five levels include two storage floors about the fourth floor, a small light room at the very top of the building that measures approximately fifteen feet in diameter and can only be reached by a ladder connecting to the room, and the sub-basement which goes down two levels or sixty feet below the basement floor.

Masonry symbols can be found throughout the Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral, although it may not be apparent to those unfamiliar with Masonry. Shopland Hall, the small theater on the fourth floor, contains many Masonic symbols. An image of the Crusade is depicted above the stage, as well as shields motifs. These are important symbols to the Masonic Fraternity. Also two-headed eagles are depicted on the ceiling of the theater. Supposedly Frederick of Prussia introduced the symbol of the two headed eagle when the Scottish Rite was in its formative stages. The Robert P. Casey Library features the quintessential symbol of the Freemasons, a shovel, a pick, and a crowbar, in a glass case. Not only are these three items symbols of Masonry, but they were also the ground breaking tools used during the construction of the Masonic Temple. Also in the Casey Library is a grandfather clock that features many Masonic Symbols carved into the wood, including the shovel, pick, and crowbar motif, as well as the symbol of the square and the compass with the letter “G” in the center.

Today the Center is undergoing a several phased, multi-million dollar restoration. To date work has been done on many areas of the facility. In the mid 1990's new roofs were installed including a complete replacement of the copper roof system and gutters over the south end of the building. Lead paint and asbestos issues were addressed in the late 1990's. Since then all new electric services have been installed, air conditioning was incorporated into the theatre and ballroom, the grand ballroom received major restoration work to the walls and ceilings and the main lobbies are currently being restored.

Jerry performed here on
4/12/75 Legion Of Mary

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. no date specified.
  2. ^ Cultural Center's Homepage
  3. ^ a b "Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral". Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. National Park Service. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  4. ^ Cultural Resources Group, 1997, NRHP Nomination Form for Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral


  1. I was there on that day in 1975. It was a great concert, I even taped it on a cheap cassette recorder. I have a story to tell of that night on my blog

    1. I can imagine you with your tape cassette. That's really sweet. I can imagine that.
      (You just got here too? We are really late.)
      Does the story involve blood sacrifices? This place freaks me out. I mean it's 420 N Wash ave for goodness sakes.

  2. I can't tell if I love this place or am scared half to death of it. I've listened to so many shows and some many many times and am always searching for shows have not heard -but this show - just this one- I just keep setting aside. Year after year. After forcing myself to look at the photos here and realizing you're still alive and a fine person, am gonna man up, swallow my pride along with a couple drops of sunny delight, close my eyes and just hit PLAY. If the Freemasons eat me I blame you mr. Jerrygarciabrokedoenpalaces.

  3. Brok end own palaces.
    Jerald Gerald protect me- here we go...