I love old buildings. It's about history as much as architecture. But too often, people and cities don't appreciate either.
The Detroit Masonic Temple can thank its lucky stars that someone much more flush than I shares my sentiments, at least where this towering limestone structure is concerned.
Jack White, pictured at right, has a personal history with the historic building and that was part of the reason that the singer-songwriter-producer stepped in to save it. The Masonic Temple was on the verge of being auctioned off due to delinquent taxes from 2010 to 2012.
White, best known for the now-disbanded rock duo the White Stripes, paid the temple's full $142,000 overdue tax bill.
The building reportedly would have been sold in less than two weeks if White hadn't helped out.
The 14-story neogothic style building is the world's largest Masonic Temple, taking up an entire Detroit block. It is listed on the National Register of Historic places and the building is home to a variety of public spaces, including three auditoriums, two ballrooms and a variety of recreational facilities.
White, whose tax payment originally was made anonymously but later revealed by the Detroit Masonic Temple Association, is a Detroit native, so he's familiar with the building's place in Motor City history.
But White's connection to the temple is more than just residency.
White spent time at the Masonic Temple as a child when his mother served as a usher at its venues. As an adult, White performed at the temple both as a solo artist and with his former band.
In recognition of White's generosity, the Detroit Masonic Temple Association plans to rename the temple's Cathedral Theater, also called the Scottish Rite Theater, after the building's tax benefactor. The newly-dubbed Jack White Theater covers 27,878 square feet and can seat 1,586 people.
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