Friday, May 13, 2016

Abandoned Ridgewood Masonic Temple

Abandoned neoclassical brick Masonic Temple
Ridgewood Masonic Temple
Abandoned neoclassical brick Masonic Temple facade
Ridgewood Masonic Temple Facade
Neighborhood: Bushwick
Address: 1054 Bushwick Avenue

Architecture:
Designed by architecture firm Koch & Wagner, the Ridgewood Masonic Temple (Lodge No. 710) is a Beaux-Arts style fraternal hall built in 1920. The firm partners were both native Brooklynites that graduated from Pratt Institute. The structure is a four-story building constructed of limestone and buff-colored brick. The building’s dominant features are its rusticated first floor, tall arched windows and ionic columned portico entrance. In addition, the building has a terracotta cornice and details that include Masonic icons.


Abandoned neoclassical brick Masonic Temple entrance
Ridgewood Masonic Lodge Entrance
History: 
The Freemasons are a fraternal organization of an ambiguous nature. There doesn't seem to be one succinct definition of who they are but if you want some first hand knowledge, I recommend visiting the Masonic Hall in Manhattan during Open House New York weekend. During the tour, they will explain a little bit about their principals and practices. The Ridgewood Lodge that occupied Bushwick's Ridgewood Temple was formed from three Freemason lodges, the Ridgewood Lodge, Cypress Hills Lodge and Star of Hope Lodge. The Ridgewood Lodge, founded in 1870, moved at least five times prior to commissioning the neoclassical temple.  Regarding the Ridgewood Temple's Bushwick location and its Queens neighborhood name association, the Temple's location was once considered to be a Ridgewood, Queens address. The Lodge was active in the Temple until it closed sometime in the 1970s due to declining membership. It was then consolidated with the Anchor Astoria Lodge in College Point, Queens.

After the Free Masons vacated the building it was briefly used as a concert venue for shows produced by Todd P, an indie music promoter. However, the city put an end to that by disallowing alcohol sales at the location indefinitely after the building’s manager failed to get a liquor license for an event he held in 2010. Some of the bands that played at the venue included, Sleigh Bells, Vivien Girls, Dan Deacon and Das Racist. Like most other vacant historic buildings around Brooklyn, the current plan for the Ridgewood Masonic Temple is a condo conversion. The building was landmarked in 2014 though, so any modifications to the exterior shell should be minimal and would require the Landmark Preservation Commission’s approval. In addition, the neighborhood’s zoning should keep developers from raising a giant tower through the roof.


Sources:
  1. Bindelglass, Evan "Mysterious Ridgewood Masonic Temple is Now a Landmark" Curbed 23 July, 2014
  2. Warerkar, Tanay "Landmarks OKs Bushwick Masonic Lodge's Rental Conversion" Curbed 20 January, 2016
  3. Noonan, Cristin "13 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Ridgewood Masonic Temple" Bushwick Daily 26 January, 2016
  4. "Cassie Did Play" Brooklyn Vegan 3 November, 2010
  5. "1054 Bushwick - Ridgewood Masonic Temple" The Bushwiki
  6. Presa, Donald "Ridgewood Lodge No. 710, Free and Accepted Masons" Landmarks Preservation Commission Report 22 July, 2014

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