Masonic Home of Washington
Status: Most Endangered Places
Year Listed: 2015
Location: Des Moines, King County
Completed in 1926 as a retirement community for members of Washington’s Masonic Society, the Masonic Home of Washington features box beam ceilings, hand carved woodwork, stained glass, and terrazzo floors throughout. By 2004, the Masonic Grand Lodge of Washington initiated plans to market the property as a traditional retirement home, open to Masons and non-Masons alike, but the economic recession put these plans on hold. Instead, the building, its ornate facilities, and beautiful grounds, was utilized as an event center hosting weddings, film shoots, and corporate meetings. Given the high operating costs, the property was put up for sale in 2013, and event center operations ceased the following year. The Masons have been exemplary stewards, and the building’s architectural features and exterior remain in good condition. Renovation of the building will likely require substantial investment, as many of the building’s systems are outdated and in need of replacement. The building does sit on a large parcel of land that could allow the coupling of rehabilitation with new construction to potentially make the project more financially feasible.