North Hollywood Masonic Lodge | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Michael Locke

North Hollywood Masonic Lodge

Looming over Tujunga Avenue like a temple from a bygone age, the North Hollywood Masonic Lodge combines Mesoamerican-inspired motifs with the clean lines of Art Moderne to create a thoroughly modern presence.

Also known as the Masonic Temple, the lodge is an imposing two-story building in a simple plan, with smooth white stucco walls punctuated by bright blue horizontal accents and an elaborate front façade.

The striking main entrance features tall vertical elements with geometric Mayan-Modern decorative motifs, topped by a simplified, streamlined blue pyramid evoking the temple at Palenque.

The Lodge was designed in 1949 by one of California's more eccentric architects, British émigré Robert Stacy-Judd, in association with North Hollywood architect and member of the local Masonic lodge John Aleck Murrey. On its completion in 1951, the Lodge joined Stacy-Judd's earlier Mayan-inspired designs like the 1924 Aztec Hotel in Monrovia, and helped to solidify his reputation as Southern California's most enthusiastic (if arguably ill-informed) architectural proponent of Mesoamerican styles.

Stacy-Judd's collaboration with Murrey underlines the strong influence Masonic Lodge 542 had on the design of its building. Founded in the 1920s, Lodge 542 counted many actors, movie studio employees and even studio heads among its membership; Clark Gable, John Wayne, the Warner Brothers, and Laurel and Hardy were all members. One of the best known and most active members of Lodge 542 was film star Audie Murphy, who has a room in the building dedicated to him. The North Hollywood Masons embraced Stacy-Judd and Murrey's unusual design, leading to the creation of one of North Hollywood's most eye-catching modern buildings.