Former JW-Masonic Temple being made into a landmark

by lonelysheep 12 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • lonelysheep

    Follow up to previous threads....

    PATERSON -- The Masons built their Paterson headquarters to last.

    In justifying why the former Masonic Temple should be considered a local historic landmark, Gianfranco Archimede, executive director of the Paterson Historic Preservation Commission, pointed to the building's mass.

    "The Masonic Temple exhibits a high degree of integrity for its size and age, surviving today largely intact in its original design construction and function," Archimede wrote in a memo to the commission in 2005.

    The commission is halfway to getting the city to designate the building, constructed in 1923 at 385-405 Broadway, a landmark. So far, the temple has received approval from the Planning Board and the historic preservation commission awaits a decision from the City Council, which has the final say.

    A local landmark designation restricts changes the owner may make to the building. Specifically, if approved, the building could not be demolished and the city would restrict any alterations to the exterior of the building, according to Paterson's Planner Michael Deutsch.

    The Masons' former meeting place, designed by Paterson's prominent architect Fred Wesley Wentworth, was built in Renaissance Revival style and boasts Greek-style Ionic columns. Inside, the dark lobby welcomes visitors with its white marble floors.

    Today, a non-denominational church called the Love of Jesus Family Church operates from the former temple -- using the Masons' large auditorium for Sunday services. The church bought the building from a group of Jehovah's Witnesses in late 2005.

    Archimede said the Jehovah's Witnesses group poured about $1 million into renovating the inside and that the current owners are fixing up more of the interior so it can hold community events in the future.

    Hope Fraticelli, director of community development for the Love of Jesus Family Church, said the center's pastor, Cassiaus Farrell, would not discuss the building until the landmark designation process is complete.

    Aside from its massive presence and decorative plaques, the other notable architectural element of the building is the lack of windows anywhere on the exterior -- an architectural symbol of the Masons' history as a secret society.

    During a phone interview, Archimede said the building is unique because, unlike other Wentworth buildings -- City Hall or the Paterson post office, for examples -- the temple was used by a private group.

    "Its not civic architecture, but it's on the scale of civic architecture," he said.

    Reach Alexander MacInnes at 973-569-7166 or [email protected]


  • skyking

    thanks for the information

  • VanillaMocha73

    Hmmm - is not that the Stanley Theatre building? When did the dubs sell that? They had that fixed up to the nines, when I was there.

  • MeneMene

    It looks like the Stanley Theatre the JWs have is in Jersey City NJ and the Masonic Temple in at 224 Broadway, Paterson NJ.

    The JW / Masonic connection continues. It says a group of JWs sold the property .. I wonder if that was a private sale by some wealthy 'brothers' or actually the WTBTS itself.

  • reneeisorym

    This is just wrong on so many levels!

    JWs owning an old Masonic Temple and selling it to a church?!

    That's nuts. Wow.


    I gave a public talk there once... the place had a strange echoish feel to it. And it was VERY cold (it was in the winter) if I recall.

  • sf

    Architect Fred Wesley Wentworth (1864-1943)
    Paterson, New Jersey


    F.W. Wentworth was born 22 August 1864 in Roxboro, Massachusetts. His family moved to Dover, New Hampshire when Wentworth was young and he attended Dover High School. Wentworth graduated from the Chandler Scientific Department of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire in 1887 with a Bachelor of Science degree. While in college Wentworth was a member of the scientific-school fraternity Phi Zeta Mu (founded 1857, now known as Tabard). Wentworth was also a founding member of the Casque & Gauntlet senior society and designed the society's pin.

    About 1893 Wentworth set up his practice in Paterson, where he would continue for forty years and become one of the leading architects of the city. Wentworth lived at 630 East 27th Street, probably the house he designed for himself. Wentworth gained prominence during the city's rebuilding after the great fire 1902. The architect's early work was mainly residential, including elaborate houses for Atwood, Griggs and Hobort; later he turned to public buildings, gaining considerable wealth. Among these latter projects were the sanitarium, the Broadway Baptist Church, Temple Emanuel, the Welfare Home, and the YMCA. Wentworth became known for his Art-Deco movie houses. Though Wentworth ran a "one-man-shop," Frederick J. Vreeland was his head draftsman for many years and in 1923 became an equal partner in the firm. Wentworth was elected a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects ca. 1926.

    A Universalist and a Republican, Wentworth was a member of a number of societies: Scottish Rite Freemasonry and the Shriners; the Hamilton Club of Paterson; the North Jersey Country Club; the Sons of the Revolution; and Rotary (a charter member). Professionally, Wentworth was President of the New Jersey AIA and member of the New Jersey State board of architects. Wentworth retired in 1933 and died on 3 October 1943.


    Jersey City, New Jersey
    Stanley Theater
    Newark, New Jersey
    Branford Theater
    Paterson, New Jersey
    Alexander Hamilton Hotel
    Fabian Theater
    Masonic Temple
    A Ham Garage
    Paterson General Hospital
    Public School #10
    Hobart Country Mansion
    Valley View Sanitarium
    Fred Wesley Wentworth House
    presumably at 630 East 27th Street
    Passaic County Tuberculosis Sanitarium
    Paterson Post Office
    Broadway Baptist Church
    Temple Emanuel (1929)
    Art Deco synagogue funded by Warner Bros. exec. Jacob Fabian
    Passaic County Welfare Home
    400 beds
    YMCA Building
    Kimball C. Atwood House
    for president of Preferred Accident Insurance Company
    John W. Griggs House
    for ex-Attorney-General
    Garret A. Hobort, Jr., House
    for Vice President of the U.S.
    Liberty, New York
    St Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church (1908)
    Poughkeepsie, New York
    Addition to Nelson House
    Hanover, New Hampshire
    Addition and alterations to Casque & Gauntlet House (ca. 1905)
    Psi Upsilon Fraternity House (ca. 1912)
    also attributed to Homer Eaton Keyes


    Ann Friedman, N.Y. Landmarks Conservancy, to Scott Meacham, 7 February 2002. Information on St. Paul's in Liberty, N.Y.
    Mark Gordon, "Sanctuary Threatened" Jewish Heritage Report 2, Nos. 1-2 (Spring-Summer 1998) [].
    Stanley Johnson, "Fred Wesley Wentworth," Dartmouth Alumni Magazine (November 1943).
    New York Herald Tribune (5 October 1943).
    Paterson Evening News (13 May 1926).
    [Paterson New Jersey] Call (4 October 1943).
    Fred Wesley Wentworth, "Recent Work of Fred Wesley Wentworth, Architect" (Paterson N.J., 1929).
    Source not consulted, but a copy exists in the Paterson Free Public Library according to
    Fred Wesley Wentworth 1887 Alumni File, Special Collections, Dartmouth College Library.
    Contains newspaper and magazine obituaries listed here.

  • becca1

    So, are you saying the Stanley Theater and this Masonic temple in Paterson were built by the same person and were both owned by the WT?

  • Lady Liberty
    Lady Liberty

    Dear Lonelysheep,

    Thank you for the post! Just when you thought things couldn't possibly get any weirder!!!


    Lady Liberty

  • lonelysheep

    Your welcome LL!

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