Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Brooklyn Masonic Temple - Fort Greene

Brooklyn Masonic Temple at Clermont and Lafayette taken from the opposite corner
Brooklyn Masonic Temple - Corner of Clermont Avenue and Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn Masonic Temple as seen from the Brooklyn Flea across the street
Brooklyn Masonic Temple from Brooklyn Flea
Creating part of the backdrop for the Brooklyn Flea's Fort Greene summer location is the Brooklyn Masonic Temple (1906). The Classical Revival style design by Lord & Hewlett and Pell & Corbett received critical acclaim from Architecture Magazine which stated that the building was "quite the most dignified and impressive piece of architecture which has been done in the past two years" and "as beautifully thought out in every particular as it is perfect in general conception."[1] The design of the building was based on that of King Solomon's Temple, as well as Greek temples of the ionic order.[2][3] The structure is built of marble, brick and colored terra cotta and the original structural components and ornament remain mostly intact. Today the building serves as the headquarters for the Masonic Grand Council, as well as an event space for rent. The interior houses two banquet halls, one that has a 280 person capacity and another that can serve up to 700 people.[3]

The architects of the firm of Lord and Hewlett were Austin Lord (1860-1922) and J. Monroe Hewlette (1868-1941). Lord was formerly employed by the well known firm McKim, Mead & White and was one of the firm's architects who worked on the Brooklyn Museum, as well as the building designs for Columbia University. Hewlette, a Brooklyn native, was educated at Polytechnic institute, Columbia University and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Although executed by one of Hewlett's parters (Charles Basing), the concept for the fresco on the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal was based on cartoons Hewlett had created.[1]

Brooklyn Masonic Temple main entrance on Clermont Avenue
Brooklyn Masonic Temple Main Entrance
Pictured above is the Brooklyn Masonic Temple's Main entrance flanked by lamp standards cast by Mitchell Vance and Co. The lamps are ornamented with Egyptoid foliate forms.[4]

Brooklyn Masonic Temple colored terra cotta ornament
Brooklyn Masonic Temple Ornament
The colored ornament on the freeze and between the columns is made of glazed terra cotta.[1]


  1. Morrone, Francis An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn. Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2001.
  2. White, Norval, Willensky, Elliot, and Leadon, Fran AIA Guide to New York. Oxford University Press, 2010.
  3. "Masonic Temple - Hall for Hire and Home to Mason's Meetings" placeMatters. online.
  4. New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Fort Greene Historic District Designation Report. New York, 26, September 1978.

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