Address: 2-3 Public Square
Architectural Style: Richardsonian-Romanesque
Year Built: c. 1880s
Architect/Builder: Unknown
Original Owner: The Masons

The Masonic Temple greatly enhances the architectural beauty and the historical value of downtown Mount Vernon.  This enormous building is faced with heavy, dark red sandstone, as is often used in Richardsonian-Romanesque construction.  The building was originally constructed around 1880s, but the 4th story was not added until sometime in the early 1890s, at the same time that the tower was added.  It was likely at this time that the red sandstone face was also added.  The building was officially dedicated on April 21, 1892 as the Masonic Temple.  Knox County's first Masonic lodge was formed in 1810, but Mount Vernon did not get its own lodge until 1815, and it took another two years before the first meeting of this lodge was actually held.  The meeting took place in the Court House, then located on the Public Square, as the Masons did not have a hall of their own to conduct their business.

The pyramidal roof to the tower, once covered with slate shingles, is now covered with metal.  The tower also possesses a cast iron finial at the peak, and a highly decorated gable dormer faces the Public Square.  The cornice of the building is dominated by the small crenellated parapet, supported by stubby corbels etched with floral designs.  The original storefronts are currently covered by what appears to be blocks of green marble facing.  Historic photographs show a series of heavy octagonal pilasters with semi-Corinthian capitals.  Another interesting detail that is no longer present was what appeared to be a phoenix, or other winged creature.  The entrance to the upper-levels is covered by a wide Classical Revival entablature, supported by two fluted Corinthian columns.

 


 

Downtown District

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