Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

200 W MAIN ST

Architecture and History Inventory
200 W MAIN ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:Sparta Masonic Temple
Other Name:MONROE COUNTY MUSEUM
Contributing:
Reference Number:27942
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):200 W MAIN ST
County:Monroe
City:Sparta
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1923
Additions:
Survey Date:1989
Historic Use:meeting hall
Architectural Style:Neoclassical
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:Parkinson and Dockendorff
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Sparta Masonic Temple
National Register Listing Date:9/25/1987 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
NOTES
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the State Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation.

The Sparta Masonic Temple was built in 1923. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on Sept. 25, 1987. This structure meets Criteria A of the National Register of Historic Places and is currently on the register.

Characterized by an eclectic mix of Classical Revival and "modern" Prairie style influences, the Masonic Temple is a two-story rectangular building, 56 feet x 99 feet, constructed of reinforced concrete and street trusses and faced with cream tapestry brick. It is covered by a low hipped, red Spanish tile roof and trimmed with white Bedford stone. Regular spaced applied brick pilasters placed on the string course around the entire building above the basement divide the brick surfaces into slender bays. In addition, the applied brick pilasters, ornamented by an inset stone panel, small stone coping and stone bases, enframe long narrow windows located on the upper and lower stories of the bays. The bays are further divided between the windows by narrower unadorned pilasters. Double-hung windows located throughout the building have muntins that create an "octonary paned" light in the upper half of the second story windows. The roof deck, eaves troughs and spouts are constructed of copper.

A shallow one-story entrance pavilion surmounted by two urns projects from the south facade of the building. Applied brick pilasters similar in design to those on the main elevations also divide the brick surface of the entrance pavilion in a similar manner. An stone panel inscribed with the name "Masonic Temple" is located above the entrance. The frontispiece on the pavilion is comprised of a Bedford stone segmental arched cornice with dentil ornamented cornice returns resting on paneled stone applied pilasters. This surround ornaments the segmental arched transom window with multiple vertical lights and the rectangular door flanked by sidelights. Additional entrances are located at the rear and on the west elevation.

The Masonic Temple also exhibits an exceptionally well preserved interior. Tennessee marble wainscotting in the vestibule, dark stained oak woodwork, a maple floor in the dining room at the rear of the building and a fireplace in the lounge room are among the original features maintained on the first floor. The original curved ceiling with beams of ornamental plaster and solid walnut furnishings ordered from the M.C. Lilly and Co. of Columbus, Ohio, continue to ornament the lodge room on the second floor. The second floor lodge is surrounded on all sides by corridors.

Exceptionally well-preserved, the Masonic Temple was constructed on the corner of Main and Court Street in company with three other Classical styled public buildings [U.S. Post Office, Library, and Court House] during the year 1922 to 1923 for a total cost of $63,000 by the local contractor and lodge members, the Naset Brothers. The design was created by another lodge member Albert Parkinson of Parkinson and Dockendorff [La Crosse, WI], who practiced in Sparta before moving his architectural practice to La Crosse. At the time of construction, Parkinson assured the building commitee that the building was designed for its location and surrounding and that the design for the building "..was entirely original and not a copy of any other building of the kind." The Masonic Temple, built to replace an earlier combination temple and retail building constructed for the Masonic Lodge in 1891 at 100-102 North Water Street (MO35/25), was listed in the NRHP in 1987.

The Masonic Temple building is significant under Criterion C as a fine example of a period and style and design produced by a noted regional architectual firm. An outstanding local example of early 20th century eclectic design, the building features imposing classically-proportioned elevations in yellow brick and red tile and incorporates several Prairie style elements. In addition, this building is a fine representation of the diverse commissions undertaken by the La Crosse firm of Parkinson and Dockendorff and exhibits their wide-ranging influence on regional design during the early 20th century. The Masonic Temple, one of four exceptionally well preserved public buildings constructed in Sparta's commercial district in the early 20th century, contributes substantially to the historic character of the proposed Water Street Historic District.
Bibliographic References:(A) Date of construction, designer: H. Tour/Downtown. (B) EAU CLAIRE: THE COUNTRY TODAY 5/1/1996. (C) SPARTA HERALD 5/26/1891; 6/10/1891; 6/23/1891; 8/28/1891; 9/22/1891; 8/14/1923; 9/11/1923; 9/11/1995; 9/25/1995. (D) TOMAH MONITOR HERALD 7/17/1995; 12/18/1995. (E) TOMAH JOURNAL 9/7/1995; 10/5/1995. (F) LACROSSE TRIBUNE 9/7/1995; 1/5/1996. (G) SPARTA MONROE COUNTY DEMOCRAT 9/7/1995; 1/4/1996. (H) CASHTON RECORD 9/13/1995; 10/11/1995. (I) SANBORN INSURANCE MAP, 1931. (J) STATE HISTROICAL SOCIETY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE, NRHP FILES, SPARTA MASONIC TEMPLE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES NOMINATION, 1987. Sparta Monroe County Democrat 9/23/1993.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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