Spokane’s historic Masonic Center for sale

Jesse Tinsley photo

The Masonic Hall in downtown Spokane, dating from around the time of the first World War, has many original fixtures and equipment.

November 29, 2012 5:53 p.m. - Updated: 5:59 p.m.

Spokane’s historic Masonic Center is for sale.

The downtown landmark — once one of the city’s foremost entertainment venues — faces an uncertain future, its current owners say.

The nonprofit that manages the facility has decided the five-story building on Riverside Avenue is too expensive to operate. Ron Cunningham, president of the Masonic Temple Association of Spokane, said maintenance costs can’t be covered in a down economy.

A second factor, Cunningham noted, is the steady decline in all-male Masonic membership. There are still more than a dozen area lodges or related groups, including women’s auxiliaries, but their collective membership is falling steadily, he said.

“We have a hard time competing with young men who have families, who have to work two or three jobs,” Cunningham said.

The social goal of the Masons hasn’t changed, however; it continues to be “the betterment of people,” he said.

“But we don’t recruit. People have to come to us to be a member,” he said.

The building’s asking price is $1.75 million. Spokane County lists the assessed value at $1.3 million. This is the first time the building — originally the Masonic Temple — has been for sale.

Map of this story's location

Read the full report in Friday’s Spokesman-Review.

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