An icon of mid-century modernist architecture, the California Masonic Memorial Temple at 1111 California Street atop Nob Hill was designed by Albert Roller and dedicated on Sept. 29, 1958. The temple houses the Masonic Auditorium, the Grand Lodge of California, the Henry W. Coil Library and Museum. The sculpture on the outside of the building, created by Emile Norman, is a war memorial, with the four 12-foot high figures representing the branches of the armed forces, as well as 14 marble figures engaged in a tug-of-war, representing the struggle between good and evil.
In the lobby hangs American artist Emile Norman’s largest art piece: a 38-foot by 48-foot, decorative mural window hung in San Francisco’s Masonic Temple. His now famous “endomosaic” mural consists of 45 acrylic panels that incorporates naturally-colored materials like seashells and stones mixed in with colored glass, and acrylic as well as fabric, grass, earth and glass powder. At the bottom is a frieze that includes soil from every California county and Hawaii. The materials are sandwiched between thin panes of clear plastic or glass which are then soldered together and hung in a widow frame. The arrangement of characters depicts the history of Masonry in California. The central figures—that of the sea and wayfaring pioneers who came to California—are also reminiscent of the seal of the City and County of San Francisco. The pioneer story, underscored by the moral lessons symbolized by Masonic tools and emblems, surround these figures, drawing us in to their colorful history.
To find out more, go to www.freemason.org.
The Masonic’s re-opening in the fall of 2014 unveiled a transformed space unlike any other of its size in the Bay Area. Renovations include a brand-new concert stage, state-of-the-art sound system tailored specifically to the room, and a new general admission open floor with tiered levels, bringing the venue’s general admission capacity to 3,300.
New, tiered, open floor for both general admission and seated shows
New concert stage and draping
Multiple new bars and concession stands
Upgraded house ambiance including new carpeting and flooring
New lighting and art installations, including five Zeppelin Chandeliers in the concert hall
Luxury VIP Boxes with wait service and private restrooms
VIP Room for 300, with amazing views of Nob Hill, San Francisco, and the Bay
Renovated, modern dressing rooms and catering areas
The renovation of the Masonic marks a landmark transformation for the historic San Francisco venue. With the significant upgrades and updates, and the change from a fixed seat venue to a flexible, multi-tiered venue, the uses of the Masonic become endless—general admission concerts, seated concerts, private receptions, meetings and classroom-style events, or private dinners with entertainment on stage. The new Masonic is now a prime venue for concerts and special events alike, in one of San Francisco’s premier neighborhoods, next door to some of the Bay Area’s greatest hotels and restaurants.