Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

116 South Main St.

National or State Register of Historic Places
116 South Main St. | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Masonic Temple Building
Reference Number:00001469
Location (Address):116 South Main St.
Masonic Temple Building
116 South Main Street, Viroqua, Vernon County
Architects: Parkinson and Dockendorff
Dates of Construction: 1921-1922

The Masonic Temple Building is an unusual two-story, mixed use building constructed 1921-1922 to the designs of La Crosse architects, Parkinson and Dockendorff. The Classical Revival style building is faced in cream brick, and trimmed with Bedford limestone. On the first floor, the Temple Theater is flanked by commercial storefront spaces on either side; while the second floor houses the La Belle Masonic Lodge #84. The noted Odin Oyen interior design firm of La Crosse decorated the Egyptian-influenced lodge rooms reflecting America's fascination with the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Its imaginative 1920s décor remains intact, with wall decorations and period furnishings, all in the Egyptian style. The building¿s ties with the Masonic fraternal organization are seen in the Masonic emblems on the second story of the exterior.

The La Belle Lodge constructed this building after fire destroyed their previous lodge in 1920 and included a theater and shops on the first floor to provide additional revenue. Viroqua¿s lodge was a powerful social institution, and claimed a membership that included most of the business and professional men in the community.

From the time of its opening, the first floor Temple Theater was an important community gathering place. In addition to movies, it was the site of lectures and concerts, taking over many of the activities originally held at the community opera house. Its original Classical Revival style theater interior was remodeled in the Art Deco style in 1931; the current marquee also dates from this period. Further renovations to the theater took place in the mid-1930s. While movies assumed a more important entertainment role in the 1930s, the theater continued to host live performances.

After years of neglect, and resulting damage to the building, restoration and repair began in 1994.

The Temple Theater is open to the public for performances and events.

Period of Significance:1921-1950
Area of Significance:Architecture
Area of Significance:Entertainment/Recreation
Area of Significance:Social History
Applicable Criteria:Event
Applicable Criteria:Architecture/Engineering
Historic Use:Recreation And Culture: Theater
Historic Use:Social: Meeting Hall
Architectural Style:Classical Revival
Architectural Style:Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals
Resource Type:Building
Architect:Dockendorff, Bernard
Architect:Parkinson, A.E.
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:12/01/2000
State Register Listing Date:07/14/2000
Number of Contributing Buildings:1
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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