Saturday, July 2, 2011

Main Street Stories: Masonic Block

Masonic Block as it looked in 1978
The building on the northeast corner of Main and Fourth Streets is known as the Masonic Block, as the second floor of the building housed, in its early years, the rooms of the local Masonic lodge. The block was built in 1899 by the Rochester Building Association on a subscription basis, and the Rochester Savings Bank was one of the early tenants on the ground floor.  Edward R. Prall (1857-1913) of Pontiac was selected as the architect for the building, which is designed in the Romanesque Revival style and features rock-faced sandstone trimmed with limestone.  Architect Prall was well-known in his day; among the buildings he designed are the Traverse City Opera House (now on the National Register of Historic Places) and some of the State Hospital buildings at Traverse City.

Not long after it was built, an addition was made to the rear of the Masonic block to house George Burr's implement warehouse; this space later became the location of the Rochester Post Office, and was used for that purpose until a new building was erected on the corner of Walnut and Fourth in 1937.  Over the years, the Masonic block has housed the Rochester Savings Bank, a Kroger grocery store, Carpenter's Men's Wear, the Lucille Shoppe, the Bright Ideas home furnishings store, and a number of boutique businesses on the first floor.  After the Masonic lodge departed the second floor it was used for professional offices (Justice of the Peace Luther Green had his law office there for many years), and the Rochester School of Ballet, among other things.

The Masonic Block was listed on the State Register of Historic Places in 1987 and has a Michigan State Historic Marker on the south wall.  The building celebrates its 112th birthday this year.

1 comment:

  1. What's the business with the yellow sign on the left?