This Masonic Hall in MI was abandoned in 2005

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan
Date added: November 05, 2023 Categories:
North and east elevations looking southwest (2009)

The Odd Fellows (IOOF) Temple was built for Wyandotte's second-oldest fraternal organization, established in 1871 by rolling mill employees at the Eureka Iron Works, the industrial operation that dominated the community's early history and economy. This temple is a distinguished example of the buildings built by service organizations such as the Odd Fellows and Masons during their heyday in the early twentieth century. These fraternal societies were important in early communal development because they motivated the citizens and organized their efforts toward civic improvement. Often the service brotherhoods were comprised of working-class men who combined their resources to perform acts of charity and philanthropy that would be beyond any of them as individuals. Built at a time in the early twentieth century when fraternal organizations in Michigan's burgeoning cities were experiencing unprecedented popularity and growth, and the local E. B. Ward Lodge was itself growing rapidly in numbers.

Wyandotte entered into a boom period following the establishment in 1855 of the Eureka Iron Works by Detroit businessman and entrepreneur Eber Brock Ward. The company was the city's first industry and served as its economic mainstay into the 1890s. Eber Brock Ward (1811-75) received his start in Great Lakes shipping, working for his uncle Samuel Ward. E. B. Ward soon rose to a leadership position, first as a ship captain but later as owner of a fleet of ships. As railroads became more common, E. B. Ward foresaw the decline in steamship traffic and looked for opportunities to branch out. In 1853, with several partners, E.B. Ward founded the Eureka Iron Co. in Wyandotte, Michigan. The area of Wyandotte had been settled for many years, first by Native Americans from Ontario, the Wyandot Hurons, and then later by various farmers and trappers. The most prominent citizen up to this time had been Major John Biddle, one-time mayor of Detroit, who had an estate there. It was from Biddle that E. B. Ward purchased the land to build the mill. Ward became the principal manager of the Eureka Iron Works and sold parcels of land to those seeking work in Wyandotte. Between the 1850s and his death, Ward may have been Michigan's most important businessman, with investments in shipping and shipbuilding, timberlands and sawmills, mines, and manufacturing. Ward was also a great philanthropist, donating large sums of money to build schools and various churches in Wyandotte.

The Eureka Iron Works, with its iron furnace, rolling mill, rail mill, and plate mill, was founded in Wyandotte to take advantage of the iron ore deposits discovered in northern Michigan. Wyandotte, with its undeveloped land and site on the Detroit River, was well placed for receiving raw materials and shipping finished products. The Eureka Iron Works became in 1864 the first in America to use the Bessemer process to produce commercial quantities of steel. Eureka closed in the early 1890s, the victim of labor unrest and its own success in utilizing the area's once-abundant trees in smelting iron. This industry had a lasting impact on the city of Wyandotte and the surrounding region, establishing the city's manufacturing base. The Michigan Alkali Company, which began operations in 1891, and the closely related J. B. Ford Company, organized in 1898; the two amalgamated into Wyandotte Chemicals Corporation in 1942; soon dominated the Wyandotte economy the way Eureka had in the early days. The city grew in the early twentieth century with the companies.

The Odd Fellows

Odd Fellowship in England dates back to the 1740s or before. Several Odd Fellows lodges were founded in the New York and Philadelphia areas in the early nineteenth century but soon disappeared. The 1819 founding of Washington Lodge No. 1 in Baltimore by brothers from England (the lodge was formally chartered the next year) marks what Odd Fellows themselves consider the establishment of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in the United States. The Grand Lodge (now "Sovereign Grand Lodge") of the United States was organized in 1824 and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in North America (United States and Canada) became independent of the order in England in 1834. The Odd Fellows have as their mission "To visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan." The name "Odd Fellows" dates back to eighteenth-century England and reputedly reflected the public's common opinion then that people who associated together for fellowship and mutual assistance were peculiar or "odd fellows." The members soon came to adopt the Odd Fellows appellation.

E. B. Ward Lodge 172

Wyandotte's Odd Fellows temple site was the location of an early school that, built in 1856, acquired the name Old Brown School in its later years for its brown color. Not only did this first building on the site serve as a school, it was also the first meeting place of a number of local churches, as well as the first meeting place for the city council when city government was established in 1867.

Michigan's first lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows was established in 1843 in Detroit. IOOF Lodge 172 was founded in 1871 by the "Rolling Mills" men at what was by then the Eureka Iron and Steel Works. The workers named the lodge in honor of Eber Brock Ward, not only Eureka's founder but a fellow Odd Fellow as well. In 1893 the IOOF purchased the Old Brown School to serve as their meeting place. By 1910 the Odd Fellows' numbers grew too large for the building. At the time the IOOF organization was the largest fraternal service group in the world, with over two million members.

The Temple

The Old Brown School was moved to another site to make room for a new Odd Fellows temple. This temple, begun in 1911, was the first building in Wyandotte to be built by a fraternal service organization exclusively for its own use. The plans called for a main building of three and a half stories, the upper two being a single high-ceilinged auditorium. Difficulties in financing the building caused its construction to be phased; the basement and first floor were built in 1911-12 and that part of the temple opened for meetings in February of 1912. In 1912 the Odd Fellows had 240 members. By 1920 the number had grown to 780. This rapid growth spurred the building of the second phase, the auditorium. Construction began about the beginning of April 1921 and was completed in October.

The new auditorium doubled as a ballroom and was used for a variety of activities from live performing arts to film screenings. Also finished at the same time was a basement-level kitchen and a cafeteria with a 300-person serving capacity. Along with the food service additions, additional billiards tables and other recreational enhancements were installed in the basement. The temple became a center of community activity and culture, hosting many performances and social functions.

The Odd Fellows performed many services to the community including caring for the home-bound sick, providing funeral services for those who could not afford them, and contributing to the education of orphans.

In Wyandotte, the IOOF was especially well known for the wheelchairs and hospital beds they provided, free of charge, to those who were freshly discharged from the hospital. This was such a signature activity for the IOOF that other service groups donated money and material for this charity. The Odd Fellows also held fundraisers, such as dinners and shows, in their temple for the Red Cross.

The IOOF occupied the building until 1938, when difficult financial times crippled the Wyandotte chapter, resulting in the Wyandotte Savings Bank foreclosing on the still not entirely paid-for property. After the Odd Fellows vacated, the building was leased by the State Offices of Unemployment, Draft, Liquor, and Auto Licenses and the structure became known as the State Auditorium. Coincidentally, during this same period another local fraternal organization, the Masons, had started to outgrow their meeting space. The Wyandotte lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons was founded by John S. VanAlstyne, another person of key importance in early Wyandotte history, in 1866. VanAlstyne, born in Albany, New York, came to Detroit to work as a lawyer for the firm of Barstow & Lockwood. This law firm was involved in the establishment of the Eureka Iron Works, and VanAlstyne was appointed to manage the real estate holding purchased by the iron works from Major Biddle. Within six months VanAlstyne was made the general manager of the Eureka Iron Works. In 1867 he was elected the first mayor of the city of Wyandotte. The local Masons formed the Wyandotte Masonic Temple Association to obtain and manage a permanent meeting place in the city. The Masonic Temple Association purchased the former IOOF temple from the bank for use as the Masonic temple in 1942 and the Masons moved in during 1943. In 1948 they began extensive renovations. These changes included the creation of balcony seating along the sides and rear. This rear seating was placed in the front half of the second-floor mezzanine, while the rear half was enclosed and converted into a storage facility. At this time the Masons removed the live theater apparatus and walled up the proscenium. The Masons further transformed the theater into a ceremonial space by installing carpeting over the original maple floors and updating the lighting. Included in these changes was a commercial kitchen installed in the back of the first floor. The temple thereafter remained essentially unchanged for fifty-one years until 2005, when the Wyandotte Masons merged with the Masons in a nearby city and vacated the site.

The temple architecture is significant as an example of an extensive and ambitious construction that is neither religious in nature nor a public project in the economic boom years before the Great Depression. Only the best quality of materials was used in the construction of the building. Highly glazed red brick for the front, clay tile decorative accents, and Indiana limestone was sculpted into a variety of embellishments, from animal figures to classical elements. All of these features combine to be representative of the attention to detail characteristic of the era. The building's architect has not been identified, but Robert C. Hugh, the temple's builder, was known for constructing many buildings in the downtown business district. Of these many buildings, the IOOF Temple is unique in his portfolio of work.

The jewel of the building is the auditorium with its arched ceiling and decorative plasterwork in the proscenium and in the pilasters and entablature that outline the room. It seems like that few fraternal buildings other than those in Michigan's largest cities present such a festival of decorative plasterwork as does Wyandotte's.

The early twentieth century, a period of substantial growth in many smaller cities and of phenomenal growth in the state's larger cities, was the heyday of fraternal building construction in Michigan. During the nineteenth century local lodges or chapters of orders such as the Masons and Odd Fellows commonly rented meeting spaces in the upper stories of downtown buildings, as was done by the Masons in Lansing, Portland, and Niles, for example. Sometimes lodges with large memberships obtained such upper-story quarters when the buildings were new and continued to occupy them for many decades, even down to the present. Very often the lodge purchased the building at some point; the Masonic temple in Niles, whose third floor the Masons rented when the building was built in the early 1880s, is one example; the Masons eventually bought the building, and continue to occupy the upper stories, while the ground floor continues to serve as rental commercial space. In at least a few cases in the later nineteenth century, as in Jonesville and Port Sanilac, buildings were built by joint owners. In Port Sanilac, the ground story was built by the township to house its governmental offices, while the Masons built the upper story to serve as the Masonic temple. Jonesville's three-story building housed the fire department at street level, council meeting chambers and offices in the second story, and the Odd Fellows temple in the third story.

Fires in the commercial buildings in which lodges occupied quarters were the plague of fraternal orders. Many lodges lost their investment in furnishings and regalia, and often their charters and records, to fires that destroyed the buildings. The danger of fire, along with the expanding membership in these organizations in the growing communities in which they were located, must have both suggested the value of a freestanding masonry building controlled entirely by the lodge while also providing the financial means to build. Built in 1874-75, Detroit's mansard-roofed Odd Fellows Hall, located on Randolph at Monroe, may have been Michigan's first building constructed as an Odd Fellows temple. Adrian's IOOF temple, known as Clark Memorial Hall, built in 1888, may be Michigan's oldest surviving building constructed specifically and exclusively for an Odd Fellows lodge. Many of these buildings provided not only lodge rooms and dining rooms and kitchens for lodge-related social events, but also a large auditorium that could be used both for lodge and public events, the latter providing a source of income for maintaining the building. There have been no surveys specifically to document Odd Fellows halls or lodge buildings in general in Michigan, and we have substantive historical information on only a few of the buildings that stand, for the most part, within existing downtown historic districts. Other examples include the 1914 Protection Lodge No. 321 building (now housing a business, Elderly Instruments) in North Lansing and the 1916 temple in downtown Ionia, designed by Joseph S. Mills of Detroit. Most of the Odd Fellows and other lodge halls built during the 1910s were Neoclassical. While not larger than many other lodge halls of its time outside of a few in Michigan's largest cities, Wyandotte's Odd Fellows Temple displays detailing above and beyond the norm for Michigan.

Building Description

The Odd Fellows Temple is a tall three-story plus raised basement limestone-trimmed red brick building whose facade exhibits an eclectic combination of Commercial Brick with Neoclassical and Renaissance-inspired features. The building was constructed in two stages, in 1911 and 1921. The structure has a rectangular footprint, with flat roof and central piano nobile entrance. It contains a basement, entry-level, and two-story second-floor auditorium. The front facade is built with walls of dark red brick with limestone corbelled stringcourse, a limestone cornice, and a parapet with low central gable. Decorative detailing includes stone egg and dart molding, cartouches and figural embellishments on either side of the original tiled front entrance. Above the entrance, the stone lintel displays "I. O. O. F. TEMPLE" in incised letters. Two shields mark the third-story front facade corners. The brickwork on the front facade is of a higher quality than that of the side and back elevations, which are finished in common brick of a more orange color with less precise mortaring. The foundation is of stone in the front, and brick on the side and rear elevations, resting on what is thought to be a concrete base below ground level. While all windows have been replaced, they remain in their original fenestration pattern, which consists on the front facade of rectangular groupings of two and three, and along the sides in singular arched windows at each level, including a row of round-arch windows in the second-third stories for the auditorium. The original 1911 building was one story in height above the basement; its complete facade remains intact up to the second-story window sillcourse. In 1921 the addition of the upper stories containing the auditorium was completed, with the original glazed red brick and limestone finishes closely matching, and the new parapet matching the 1911 version. The original exterior front staircase has also been entirely replaced, going through what appears to be a total of three incarnations from its original 1911 composition. What exists today is a wide entrance staircase that echoes the original, and closes off a central front basement entrance. A modern addition to this area is a concrete wheelchair ramp along the front of the building that leads to an original entrance of the east side.

The Odd Fellows Temple is located in a historic residential neighborhood of traditional gridiron plan, consisting of large two-story Victorian homes and numerous churches. It faces north on Chestnut Street. The building sits on its original site one-half block east of Wyandotte's main street, Biddle Avenue, and one block north of the downtown commercial district. The surrounding landscape is level land and is flanked on the east by the Detroit River. The IOOF building stands approximately two and a half blocks from the river. Immediately surrounding the building and on the same city block are two churches to the south and west, a store separated by an alley to the east. Across the street to the north, a private residence and parking lot face the building.

The IOOF Temple is a three-story brick and limestone building that, constructed in 1911, combines Neoclassical and Renaissance stylistic features along with common Commercial Brick detailing. The structure, measuring fifty feet wide by 120 feet deep, has a rectangular footprint oriented perpendicular to the street on a lot size of fifty feet by 140 feet deep. It is three bays wide, has both gabled and flat roofs, and a central piano nobile entrance. The building contains a basement, entry level, and second floor with full two-story auditorium and taller fly loft in the rear.

The temple was initially constructed as a single-story-plus-basement structure. An additional story for ceremonial, educational, and entertainment purposes, planned from the start, was built in 1921 to serve as a ballroom and auditorium, which was used for a variety of activities from live performing arts to movie film. Also included in this construction phase was a kitchen and cafeteria with a 300-person serving capacity in the basement, along with billiards tables and other recreational enhancements.

The building was renovated again when the Odd Fellows vacated the property and the Masons occupied it. They made significant interior changes in 1948, especially in regards to the auditorium, including the addition of balconies and the enclosure of the mezzanine. It is in this time capsule-like state that the building has remained. It is in good physical condition, with masonry walls, wood joists, and steel I-beam supports running along the length of the structure and acting as ceiling supports. The original structural materials are present.

The exterior facade is intact and in excellent condition. The front facade, facing north, is of original dark red brick and red mortar in a stretcher bond pattern, with an Indiana limestone corbelled stringcourse, limestone cornice, and center gable pediment. The front elevation brick is of a higher quality than that of the side and rear elevations, which is coarse, more orange in color, and with less precise mortaring (although all mortar work is thin and tight on all elevations).

Original decorative detailing abounds on the front facade. At the main entry of the piano nobile, figural animal embellishments consisting of a lion and lioness greet visitors on either side of the original rounded stone arch. Burnt umber and white tile accent the underside of the arch in a linear pattern, while at the top of the arch a figural cartouche of a greenman's face with volutes gazes over the shield framed with acanthus leaves. Above the entrance, a stone lintel with cavetto molding and egg and dart molding on the entablature protrudes from the string course. Below this lintel and above the rounded arch, a plaque bears the lettering "I. O. O. F. TEMPLE."

The second-story limestone window sillcourse band is the demarcation line for the first completed phase of the structure. The original structure as completed in 1911 was a story and a half, the complete facade of which is intact from the limestone stringcourse to the foundation. In 1921 the previously planned addition of a second story with full auditorium was completed. When the additional floor was built, the original dark red brick and limestone quality and configuration were matched perfectly, and the original gabled parapet was recreated on the third story to match the original one-and-a-half-story 1911 version. The windows on the entry floor, the original 1911 structure, are set in two groups of three on either side of the front entrance. Each window is narrow and rectangular in shape, with a small square transom window at the top. Limestone bands frame each set of windows.

The second and third stories built in 1921 also have decorative elements. Limestone egg and dart molding on the third-story cornice draw the eye up towards the parapet with its geometric patterned brick and limestone design accent at the center front. Connected by a narrow band of limestone, two shields on the outer corners of the third story stand as a testament to the structure's fraternal roots. Originally bearing the IOOF crest, they were altered in 1948 by the Masons and now display flat, blank surfaces. Other than this minor alteration by the Masons, all decorative facade detailing remains intact and in excellent condition. The facade is crowned by a parapet with a limestone cap and low central gable.

The windows of the second and third stories reflect a change in decorative detailing from their 1911 counterparts on the first floor. Instead of limestone frames, bands of brick emphasize recessed window banks, the corners of which are geometrically accented with limestone corner squares. In the central bay, the windows are grouped in one set of three, in both the second and third stories. In contrast, the outer windows, in the first and third bays, are grouped in sets of two on the second and third stories. All windows at one time appear to have been of the sash variety.

While the majority of original window materials have been compromised, the facades retain their original fenestration pattern on all stories. This consists on the front facade of rectangular groupings of two and three, and along the sides in singular segmental-arch windows in the basement and first-floor levels, and broader round-arch windows at the second story level in correlation with the auditorium inside. The original windows appear to have been replaced over the years with everything from vinyl to glass block in an effort to improve heat conservation. Original windows remain on the second-floor auditorium level and in the "tower" section in the back of the structure, which all have been enclosed or boarded up over through the years.

The original staircase on the front facade has been rebuilt twice over the years. These changes consisted of removing the original oversized stone or concrete newels and cast iron light poles in the early 1950s, and replacing this with a split staircase to allow access to a new basement entrance in the central bay. This staircase was replaced with what is on site now: a wide entrance staircase with aluminum railings that echoes the original in design and closes off the front basement entrance. This staircase is crumbling in some spots as the concrete spalls. An addition to this area at the same time as the most recent staircase incarnation is a concrete wheelchair ramp that runs along the front and east side of the building leading to an original entrance on the east elevation. This entrance leads to a half level between the basement and entry-level staircase on the interior.

The east side elevation directly adjoins an alley. The brickwork in this and all elevations besides the front is of common brick, more orange in color, and with less precise mortaring. The windows on this side on the entry-level first floor and basement have segmental-arch heads and stone sills. The windows on the first-floor range in size as well. Some windows on these levels remain functional, while others are boarded up or, in regards to the basement level, contain glass block. On the second floor are taller round-arch windows that light the auditorium. The northernmost window of this set is completely bricked in. Each remaining window features a decorative semi-circular Diocletian window at the top and is set in the center of a second and third-story section of wall outlined by raised brick piers and capped by corbelled brickwork. It appears that these auditorium windows are the only remaining original windows in the building. They were paneled over by the Masons at some point in their tenure for supposed reasons of heat conservation and light pollution in the ceremonial space.

At the building's south (rear) end is a somewhat taller rectangular section that, containing the auditorium's flyloft, extends entirely across the structure. Although it rises not much more than a story above the main roof, its fenestration subdivides it into six stories above the basement. The brick of the flyloft tower matches those of the east and west side elevations. The windows in the tower section are asymmetrically placed, corresponding to room and stairway locations in the interior. They are of various heights and widths, but all except short square-head ones at the top have segmental arch heads with stone sills. Two small square windows occupy the uppermost outer corners of the tower. Some windows are functional, while others have been boarded up. It is likely that original windows remain in the boarded up sections. A brick chimney accommodating furnace exhaust rises above the tower.

The foundation of the structure is sound. The foundation of the temple is finished in decorative stonework, while the side and back elevations are finished in brick. All rest on what is likely to be a concrete base below ground level.

The west side elevation of the building is immediately flanked by St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. Built in 1965, the church borders the IOOF structure with only a narrow passage between them. The windows on this elevation match those on the east side in their asymmetrical fenestration on the basement and entry level floors, corresponding to internal room use. All windows have segmental-arch heads with stone sills. The windows on the first floor range in size as well. Some windows on these levels remain functional, while others are boarded up or, in the basement level, now infilled with glass block. On the second floor, the same row of two-story round-arch windows grace the side of the building as those on the east. The northernmost window of this set is also completely bricked in.

The roof has had water infiltration issues over the years. The main area of the roof, above the core block of the building, is gently gabled and has been covered with composite shingling. The original cedar shake shingles remain intact underneath the composite material. The roof of the tower is flat with an asphalt coating, on top of which is a white single-ply pvc membrane material that also covers part of the gable. This serves to reflect the heat of the sun's rays, an environmentally sound approach that in turn keeps the interior space immediately below cooler. A lack of roof maintenance has resulted in water infiltration to some of the interior rooms. The result has been plaster damage in areas of the auditorium, most specifically the walled-in mezzanine. That being said, damage has been confined to areas that make up approximately 30% of the total decorative plasterwork. The majority of plaster requires only minimal restoration and re-painting.

The interior of the building exhibits several modifications and renovations over the years. Detailed newspaper accounts give great insight into the use of the interior.

The basement was originally used as a fellowship space and currently retains its original configuration of rooms. These rooms served as recreational and dining areas, with a cafeteria able to accommodate 300 persons, billiards tables, and other leisure activities. Access to the basement is via two staircases, one in the northeast and one in the southeast corner of the temple. Entering the basement from the north end, a central hallway separates three rooms on the east wall and two rooms on the west wall. Moving south, the hallway opens up into a large open space that once housed pool tables and other recreational activities. Behind this open space and further in the south end of the basement level are a kitchenette, furnace room, tool room, safe, and bathrooms.

Alterations to the basement level include drop ceilings, linoleum flooring, glass block windows, modern appliances in the kitchenette, updated restrooms, and the enclosure/walling over of exterior windows on the west elevation. Visible underneath the drop ceiling, a steel I-beam running the length of the structure and web of wooden floor joists with X bracing complete with original nonfunctional knob and tube wiring can be seen. Masonry load-bearing walls are also evident at this level of the structure. In addition, ceiling radiators remain non-functional hanging from the ceiling, now replaced by forced air heat. Interestingly, several of the organization's full-sized wall safes and vaults remain in place. The entire basement interior is sound.

The piano nobile entry level also shows modernization on the interior, as windows have been sealed and covered with half walls, linoleum now covers the floor, drop ceilings have been installed, and a wall with double doors added to the central hallway in order to section off the stairs. Entering this floor from the north end, one encounters the grand staircase in the foyer, the most distinguished original feature intact on this level. It is sturdy and austere, made of darkly stained oak. The double-run staircase up to the mezzanine level displays thick octagonal newel posts and turned colonial balusters.

In this foyer, and proceeding into the main hallway, decorative plasterwork in the form of a coved ceiling draws the eye into the building. The configuration of the first floor remains as it did for the most part in 1912 foyer, original administrative office, ticket office space, ladies' and men's restrooms, anteroom, check room and lodge rooms remain undisturbed in terms of wall arrangement. Original wood trim and doors remain in the foyer and admin office, unpainted and still with their original finishes. More modern additions to the first floor include a commercial-grade kitchen in the rear of the building that was likely installed by the Masons in their extensive 1948 remodeling.

The second floor is dominated by a large open auditorium and illustrates most prominently the changing of the guard from the Odd Fellows to the Masons in that great changes were made to update the space for the purposes of the latter.

The auditorium has balconies along three sides (east, north, and west) and a stage area on the fourth wall (south). There is extensive ornate plastering in this room, some of which (approximately thirty percent) has suffered from water damage that occurred before the roof was repaired. The plasterwork consists of Corinthian pilasters which run the height of the room on the east and west side walls, an impressive entablature of egg and dart molding, ribs running the span of the otherwise acoustic tile-clad ceiling, and an ornate proscenium. The pilasters are all the same, featuring cartouches, laurels, flowers, lion heads, and acanthus leaves. On either side of each pilaster, a plaster rosette in a circular frame graces the wall. In between each pair of pilasters, the arch of the now boarded-over full-length window can be seen. The pilasters and walls are white, with soft blue accents on the pilasters and framed rosettes, and the lion heads and floral elements are painted gold.

Where the wall of the auditorium meets the arching ceiling, a wide detailed entablature with egg and dart molding "supported" by the Corinthian pilasters can be seen on all four sides of the room, stopping short at the proscenium. The proscenium features a fruit and floral roping motif accented with egg and dart molding, bowing gracefully upward between two pilasters, creating a gently curving elongated arch. This too is white, accented with subtle tints of soft blue.

Since 1948 the arch of the proscenium, the stage opening, has been walled up and has a dark wood paneling on the auditorium side. The backstage area can only be accessed by exiting the auditorium and proceeding to the side entrances. In addition to the depth of the backstage area being restricted, the actual stage no longer extends out into the auditorium but is cut off in line with the proscenium, its front now replaced by steps rising to a low platform. In 1948, also, updating the lighting of the auditorium to a more contemporary aesthetic took place. On the north side of the auditorium, opposite the stage, opposing stairs join and peak at the balcony level. These stairs were also added in 1948 and have a wood-paneled face with a contemporary clock at the crest. Before the modern updates, access to the balcony level was via a set of still-intact stairs in the northeast corner.

In the north end of the auditorium is a multi-level mezzanine with several rows of seating. The space was originally larger, and extended north to the front wall of the building where several sets of windows would have provided additional light into the space. A wall spanning the width of the room was built in 1948 to cleave the space in half and create a storage space out of the back of the balcony. A door in the middle of this wall provides access to this now storage space. The original oak staircase is still intact that provided access to the rear balcony, and provides another access point to the space. This rear balcony area shows more extensive damage to the plasterwork: most of it has completely disintegrated. However, the masonry walls are sound.

The original maple flooring of the auditorium has been covered with blue carpeting and the original seating replaced with more modern padded blue folding seats, all of this done when the side balconies were added in 1948. In effect, the majority of the central floor space in the auditorium has no permanent fixed seating. Along the east and west walls of the room, there are two rows of seats affixed to double risers. Several of the original cast iron theater seats, which had folding wooden benches, as well as the original opaque white glass light shades, have been found under the stage. These could be reinstalled and replicated where necessary.

Behind the stage along the building's south side is a series of dressing rooms, as well as two "tower" spaces that rise in the south corners of the building, separated by the backstage area. Within the towers are a honeycomb of staircases and rooms, for storage of props and additional dressing spaces. The rooms in the towers and the staircases, as well as the backstage area, all have original woodwork and railings dating to 1921. The area above and behind the proscenium has been walled in, and what once likely contained a curtain mechanism and flyloft area now has a large forced air furnace for heating the auditorium. The flyloft is accessed by narrow staircases on either side of the backstage area, which has been closed off. A ladder and small square passage allows access to the crawlspace immediately above the auditorium ceiling and below the roof. Some areas behind the stage have water damage in the ceiling. This is due to leaks from the furnaces located in the flyloft above the stage. The water drainage from these furnaces has been re-routed to outside of the building. Some water damage may also be due to isolated roof failures.

Beneath the stage itself is an additional mid-level space for prop storage, special effects, and early-stage lighting access. This room is entered through a staircase on the east side of the building, or via a trap door on stage.

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan Front Facade as built in 1911. Postcard view (1921)
Front Facade as built in 1911. Postcard view (1921)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan North and east elevations looking southwest (2009)
North and east elevations looking southwest (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan North elevation, front facade looking south (2009)
North elevation, front facade looking south (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan East elevation looking west (2009)
East elevation looking west (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan South elevation looking north (2009)
South elevation looking north (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan North elevation, detail of third-floor cartouche looking south (2009)
North elevation, detail of third-floor cartouche looking south (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan North elevation, detail of first floor entry figural embellishment looking east (2009)
North elevation, detail of first floor entry figural embellishment looking east (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan North elevation, detail of stone archway and lintel over entry looking south (2009)
North elevation, detail of stone archway and lintel over entry looking south (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan First floor foyer, staircase detail looking northeast (2009)
First floor foyer, staircase detail looking northeast (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan Second floor landing looking southeast (2009)
Second floor landing looking southeast (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan Second floor auditorium looking north (2009)
Second floor auditorium looking north (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan Third floor auditorium mezzanine looking southwest (2009)
Third floor auditorium mezzanine looking southwest (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan Third floor auditorium mezzanine looking south (2009)
Third floor auditorium mezzanine looking south (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan Third floor auditorium mezzanine, detail Corinthian pilaster looking east (2009)
Third floor auditorium mezzanine, detail Corinthian pilaster looking east (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan Third floor auditorium mezzanine, detail Corinthian pilaster figural embellishment looking east (2009)
Third floor auditorium mezzanine, detail Corinthian pilaster figural embellishment looking east (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan Third floor auditorium mezzanine, detail Corinthian pilaster ornamentation looking east (2009)
Third floor auditorium mezzanine, detail Corinthian pilaster ornamentation looking east (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan Third floor auditorium mezzanine, detail corner Corinthian pilaster treatment looking southwest (2009)
Third floor auditorium mezzanine, detail corner Corinthian pilaster treatment looking southwest (2009)

Wyandotte Odd Fellows Temple - Masonic Temple, Wyandotte Michigan Third floor auditorium, proscenium looking southeast (2009)
Third floor auditorium, proscenium looking southeast (2009)