In 1910, Yakima was something of a boomtown. Celebrating Yakima’s founding with a 25th anniversary party called a “Silver Jubilee,” residents also celebrated Yakima’s astonishing growth. In only a decade, Yakima’s population had increased more than threefold, from about 13,000 to nearly 42,000. Members of Yakima’s “Commercial Club” spent thousands of dollars distributing marketing pamphlets nationwide and enticed hundreds of people to make the journey west. Settlers flocked to the Yakima Valley to find work in the thriving timber and agricultural industries via the Northern Pacific Railroad. Nicknamed the “Fruit Bowl of the Nation,” Yakima was bursting at the seams. Rapid growth resulted in growing pains. Infrastructure wasn’t able to keep up with the growing demand—even the main throughway, Yakima Avenue, was still a rugged dirt road, heavily traveled by horses. The town longed for some symbol of permanence and establishment.
In 1911, local Yakima Freemasons, desiring both a distinguished, ceremonial meeting space and an investment for their flourishing club, built the magnificent, multi-story building, with a Masonic ceremonial temple on the top floor and commercial and retail spaces on the lower floors.
Architects William Ward DeVeaux of Yakima and Frederick Heath of Tacoma designed the building in a Second Empire style, one typified by the Mansard roof and elaborate dormer windows. The pair of architects incorporated the Classical style as well, seen in the Corinthian capitals and other decorative elements. These styles expressed the civilized society, democracy, and high ideals exemplified by the Freemasons. A slate roof, terra cotta detailing, and decorative circular windows on the top floor not only made the building unique and beautiful, but, at that time, the tallest structure between Seattle and Spokane. This elegant edifice defined a new age in Yakima, proclaiming the town was here to stay.
The building was a testament to the symbolism of the Masons, and the crown jewel was the sacred ceremonial Lodge Hall proper atop the sixth floor. Designed to replicate the throne room of King Solomon’s Temple, numerous Masonic bodies met in the beautiful, ornate space under the watchful eye of staring grotesques. When the Masons relocated to a new building in 1965, the Lodge Hall was closed, locked in time. Despite a century gone by, this special sixth floor hall remains intact today, adorned with many of the original Freemason architectural elements. The sixth floor will soon offer dining, conference, and private event space, retaining the historic character of the Hall and the spectacular views of the Yakima Valley.
While this historic structure has seen many people come and go, and has even had times of quiet, the building is now fully appreciated once again in all its historic beauty as the new home of The Hotel Maison—offering a glimpse of history, elegance, and a bit of intrigue.
Yakima Valley Museum Director, Peter Arnold, and Mike Siebol, Curator of Exhibitions, have curated and installed a small exhibit in The Hotel Maison to share the building’s colorful history and prominence in Yakima’s evolving community.
Since 1912, a marvelous and mysterious “temple” has been hidden away on the top floor of this building, now the Hotel Maison. The room was Yakima’s Masonic Lodge, a place rarely seen by anyone other than members of the Yakima chapter of The Order of Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons—the Freemasons.
The Yakima Valley Museum has installed a small exhibition of images of the building. If you want to know more about this building, the Freemasons in Yakima, or other interesting facts and stories from Yakima’s past, please visit the Yakima Valley Museum at 2105 Tieton Drive.
Hotel Maison has partnered with Larson Gallery in showcasing local artists’ work that reflects the beauty of the landscape. Found throughout the hotel, local photographers capture the wild beauty of the desert and the green promise of irrigation that turns our sageland into sun-kissed bounty.
W.D. Frank is a musician, writer, artist and life-long resident of Yakima. He earned his PhD in history from the University of Washington and has lectured on the subject of Soviet sport history throughout the United States and Europe. He has collaborated with Bill Brennen in a variety of musical and artistic endeavors during the last twenty years. W.D.’s artwork and poetry have won several awards in regional competitions over the last decade.
Bill Brennen was born and raised in the Yakima Valley and received a degree in Fine Arts from Central Washington University in 1973. Since then he has entered many juried art shows and won numerous awards. His various styles include landscapes, figurative and still life. He also has painted mural projects in public buildings for the Washington State Arts Commission and donates paintings to fundraisers for numerous non-profit organizations.
Michael Broom was born and raised in the northwest; living most of his life here in the Yakima Valley. He became interested in photography at a young age and with the support of his family it quickly became a passion. Surrounded by the beauty of Yakima’s agriculture and surrounding vistas, Michael has never been without a view to inspire him.
Sean Byrne’s regular job requires extensive driving all over the Central Washington area. Growing up on the west side of the state where things are always green and lush, he was struck by the beautiful landscapes and scenery of Central Washington. When time permits, he takes his camera to capture images of some of the beautiful things drivers often may take for granted.
George Mears has been in custom framing and artwork design for over 30 years. His love of design and creative thinking with canvas and photography have enabled him to work with numerous resources and photographers to create the perfect atmosphere that is needed for each project. His desire is to bring a pleasant atmosphere that touches everyone.