Masonic Temple, Great Falls
Great Falls Central Business Historic District
Freemasons trace their history to the stonemasons of Medieval Europe, an association referenced in the design for the Great Falls Masonic Temple. Constructed in 1914, the three-story building features a dramatic central tower and steep gable bays that rise above the roofline. Those features evoke Tudor England, as do the arched doorways and the narrow, multi-paned windows surrounded by stone. Festive, multicolored brick, stone, and terra cotta and heavily bracketed balconies echo the Spanish style. Montana architects associated that style with recreation. Indeed, in addition to providing office and meeting space for Great Falls’ Masonic lodges, the building featured a banquet hall, billiard room, stage, ballroom, and card-playing parlors. Johannes Van Teylingen designed the building, which cost $100,000 to construct. Then a young draftsman employed by architect W. R. Mowery, Van Teylingen would become a well-known architect. This building suggests why. For its design Van Teylingen used architectural symbolism to create a monument—both to the Masons’ mythic past and to their place in the social, cultural, and civic life of Great Falls.