Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Inside the Giant Gray Temple Building That Has No Windows

I have been staring at this building for my entire fucking childhood, adolescence, awkward twenties. I mean, it's right in the middle of Ohio City. It was right next to the overly ornate church we went to before Mom made us Catholic again. All of you have lived over by it at some point and we've turned around drunk in it's steep little parking lot while searching for your new apartment. And it has no fucking windows. That alone, but no, it gets better. I remember exactly the day when I asked my mother what it was, and she told me it was a Masonic temple and BOOM my little imaginary mind was blown. First of all, no windows. Second of all, Masons? The very concept is enough to ruin an 8 yr old for anything productive for the next three years. Third, it looks like a temple. It looks more like a temple than how I imagined temples should look. It looks like exactly what they intended it to be, a place where you don't get to see what the fuck is going on in there.

Well, ha, look at that. Look who got inside, you dowdy old long dead men in weird robes (there were pictures, and there were costumes, promise). Who thinks your place is the coolest building ever. Definitely right up there with the Cleveland Trust Rotunda, which had all those crazy bank vaults and that stained glass, so that's stiff competition, but it stands up. This building had crazy amounts of huge massive safes. 1920s bank robber safes. Huge double desks made of entire trees. And a boxing ring! And sepia tinted roll call photos everywhere! And lamps made of skin!

Plus thick solid beautiful old wood, and a marble staircase, and secret throne room chairs with ornate esoteric carvings, and falling apart old books with odes and songs and MASONIC STUFF. Faces of old men everywhere, and their trophy cases, and their plaques.

Also ashtrays everywhere. Everywhere. I won't even start to talk about the kitchen cabinets which went miles to the ceiling. It was like hanging out in the best church basement ever invented. It made you crave watery coffee and stale jelly donuts after mass, even if you had to stand in the corner while Mom said hi to everyone.

I don't know if I was just blinded in my youth by other things, or maybe I just sucked horribly at math and therefore never even thought about engineering or architecture because like space travel, it was just not something I was good enough to do. But why aren't we all just in constant awe of the buildings around us? We live in Cleveland, for gods sakes. Building is something we did really really well for a long time. Thank god my parents didn't make me grow up in someplace like Phoenix, or anywhere in Florida, where things are new and flat and don't have secret old pianos hanging out behind thick stage curtains on old polished floors. Why aren't we just constantly marveling at the designs of man all the fucking time?

Don't you just want to stay back there behind the curtains forever? Don't you just want to sleep there overnight? Who needs love when you have flooring like this? This building doesn't care about you and your problems, it just exists and asks to be used well and with respect. Hurting this building would be like throwing a stone at an elephant. You'd have to try really hard to have any affect on the elephant. You could hurt it, but you'd have to have hate in your heart and a lot of fucking balls. This building is what every little girl wants.


  1. Fab tour, wonderfully atmospheric. Those faux leather couches look soooo inviting under their anemic lights. Goes with the musty photos of dead old guys and their pasty white flesh. Next time take some explosives and knock a window in the wall!

  2. That was the biggest mixer I've ever seen.

  3. Nanu- no windows! It's secret!

    Ells - I know. Even the kitchen ware is manly.

  4. nice!
    I go by this place all the time and wonder what it's like inside.

  5. my cousin (JH) had her wedding reception in this building! For reals. Because yes, my other cousin is a mason...
    Super sweet building.


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