Freemasons In Detroit
It's odd how few footprints Detroit's Freemasons have left in the public history of the city. While the Masonic Temple is truly spectacular, and probably deserving of a page of its own, nobody really says much about the Freemasons' role in the city. It seems likely this is just a matter of public ignorance. First, Freemasons have been active in Detroit for a longtime. The first lodge in the city (and the state, for that matter), was chartered in 1764, just a little after the British took it from France, by 1772 three separate lodges were operating in the city, and by 1794 there were six. With that much history, it's hard to believe they haven't done something interesting. Second, the Hunter-Patriots were organized in a suspiciously masonic lodge structure, which suggests... something. Third, many of the leaders of early Detroit such as Joseph Campau were Freemasons, and it undoubtedly served as an important social linkage. Finally, even if they didn't do anything, somebody, somewhere in Detroit's history must have accused Detroit's Freemasons of... something.
Over the years, a number of Detroit notables have been Freemasons, including Henry Ford, George De Baptiste, and former Mayors Dennis Archer, Coleman Young, Hazen Pingree. However, the historic split between white "Grand Lodge" Masonry and the black Prince Hall tradition has been an active factor in Detroit for almost its entire history, with the Prince Hall tradition only being acknowledged as "regular" by the Michigan Grand Lodge in 1997.
The Detroit Masonic Temple, built in 1926, is one of the most ornate in the world, with 14 stories and over 1000 rooms, for a total of over 12 million cubic feet of space. Today, its enormous auditoriums and halls are used for a variety of entertainment and cultural events.