Masonic Temple

724 Main St | Locally Designated 05/16/1996

Summary Material:

The neo-classic revival structure, a style popular at the time the building was constructed at the turn of the century, at 724 Main Street served as the meeting place for the La Crosse Masonic lodges from 1902-1977. The L-shaped building is red brick veneer with brick quoins which mark the corners, cross gables with cornice returns. This building is one of the few remaining buildings of the neo-classical revival style left in the city of La Crosse. The building was designed by a New York architect. La Crosse companies were responsible for the other work; foundation was done by Louis Miller, carpentry by Frank Schwalbe, masonry by Frank Techmer, plumbing and heating by Thill and Lapitz, vacuum system by James Trane, painting by W.J. Davidson, hardware by Tausche Hardware, carpeting by E.R. Barron Company and Nelson Carpets and lighting by Benton & Sons. The cost of the building, without furnishing, was $28,000.00. The Masonic lodge met at nine other sites since it was instituted as the Frontier Lodge No. 45, the first in La Crosse County and the forty-fifth in the state of Wisconsin. Charter members included Ebenezer Childs, John Levy and Morrison McMillan prominent City of La Crosse pioneers. The building at 724 Main Street placed under the previous Preservation ordinance on October 21, 1993 using criteria (a) Reflects the broad social historic of the community and (c) embodies the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural type inherently valuable for a study of a period a style. 

Notice of Designation of Historic Structure
Historical Context

Builder was Joseph and Frank Schwalbe. Projecting hip roofed entrance bay with cornice returns in cross gable and round arched window keystone accented articulated window heads and six over clear plate glass windows; trim under the eaves; brick quoins and stone water table at level of elevated foundation. Elevated open front portico with Ionic door; slender gable bay projecting from east side with arched window in lower story modern addition at rear.
-(Historical notes from the Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory)