Burlington, Vermont
Early 20th-century Postcard Views

HP 206 Researching Historic Structures & Sites • 2012
Historic Preservation ProgramUniversity of Vermont

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Masonic Temple
Looking southwest from 152 Pearl St.
Date hand-written: 1909
Masonic Temple
Looking southwest from 152 Pearl
October 19, 2012, 7:50 a.m.

1 Church Street
The Masonic Temple

The Masonic Temple Building is located on the southwesterly cornern of the Church Street and Pearl Street intersection. It is an approxiamtely eight-by-eight bay, five-and-one-half-story wood-frame brick building with a steepley pitched hipped-roof met with cross-gables flanked by small dormers. However, before the Masonic Temple was errected two structures occupied its lot; one wooden and one wood framed with brick veneer.(1) Based on when it appears on the Sanborn fire insurance maps it was constructed after 1889 but prior to 1900.(2) According to the Burlington Book published by the University of Vermont's Historic Preservation Program "the Masonic Block… was designed by the Wilson Brothers in 1897."(3) This means the date of construction was between 1897 and 1900. In 1906 the building is officially labeled on the Sanborn map as the "Masonic Temple."(4)

In its more recent history, the owners applied for a permit in 1989 to renovate the interior of the building.(5) A consultation record from a meeting with the architectural firm of Wiemann-Lamphere Architects, Inc. in the Mason's records exposes plans for interior renovation in order to bring the building up to code. Findings from this meeting also suggest the building was still structurally sound.(6) As with other Church Street buildings, the Masonic Temple, too, has rejected its old turn-of-the-century red and white striped awnings. The recent photograph depicts smaller, black awnings, most of which are secured back on the rainy October morning. It should also be be noted that the original slate roof appears to be intact. Lastly, the utility poles and wires seen in the postcard no longer obscure the modern view. They have been replaced in the shot by one lamppost installed on the sidewalk in front of the Church.

In 1906, aside from being a meeting space for the Freemasons, the Masonic Temple also contained a drug store, undertaker, smoke shop, fur seller and hat maker, among other businesses.(7)

Currently, the building is used for a phychology practice and is advertising to lease vacant retail and office space. Seen (below) at night in the winter months, the head of Church Street is illuminated by the City's Christmas tree. The tree stands sheltered between the Masonic Temple and the Richardson Building adding a festive touch to the dark, snowy landscape of winter.

Masonic Temple
Looking southwest from 152 Pearl St.
November 29, 11:45 p.m.
1. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Burlington, VT, 1900.
2. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Burlington, VT, 1889, 1900.
3. The Burlington Book, (Burlington, VT: UVM Historic Preservation Program), 26.
4. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Burlington, VT, 1906.
5. City of Burlington, "Property Details," http://www.burlingtonvt.gov/ProperytDetails.aspx?a=5318
6. Historic Buildings – Church St., Oct 11, 1982, Burlington, Vermont Reference Files (University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections.)
7. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Burlington, VT, 1906.