Sheldon Aubut's Duluth History

Old Masonic Temple

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201 East Superior Street
Presently: Temple Opera House
Previously: Masonic Temple
Built: 1889 (original wooden building 1869)
Architects: Charles McMillen and E.S. Stebbins, Duluth
Style: Richardsonian Romanesque with Moorish detailing

This building once contained the Public Reading Rooms which later became the Public Library. In 1942 the top three stories and the Moorish Tower were removed to free the view of the building up the hill from it which belonged to G.G. Hartley who also disliked the style contrast with his classical Orpheum Theatre.


Around 1900




Brownstone from the Amnicon River Quarries and red sandstone walls with carved capitals, faces and Celtic mazes highlight the structure. Above the entrance is a wrought iron balcony with a Syrian arch flanked by columns suggesting the mass of the much more Moorish style floors that had been removed.

The MINNESOTIAN of June 26, 1869 said of the original wooden Temple Building on this site, which cost $200,000 to build: "A Masonic hall, being, of course, one of the indispensable institutions of a place of our destiny, Mr. William Nettleton has commenced the erection of a good sized building on the corner of Superior Street at East Second Avenue, the second story of which is designed for this special purpose. The building will be a substantial two-story frame, 22X50 feet, the lower story to be let for a store".


temple3.jpg (30698 bytes)1995temple5.jpg (47037 bytes)








The Duluth Daily News of October 22, 1889 said, of the entrance that was on the avenue, "The foyer is richly dressed. The windows are curtained in gorgeous velours in old gold. Two of its fine doors are covered in velours in solid Spanish red and old gold valances, all hung on poles."

1930 - 13 music teachers and the Lochmund Studio of Musical Art
1935 - Temple Building & Hall, Orpheum Pharmacy on 1st floor and 31 apartments
1950 - Same



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Last modified: January 15, 2011
copyright 1986-2013 , Sheldon T. Aubut, all rights reserved

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