Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Austin, John C.W. Architect (firm); Kamooneh, Kamal, Architect (firm); Randall/Baylon Partnership, Architects (firm); John Corneby Wilson Austin (architect); Hector Baylon (architect); Kamal Kamooneh (architect); Donald Bruce Randall (architect)

Dates: constructed 1921

3 stories

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6840 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA 90028

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The prominent architect John C.W. Austin designed this Neo-classical fraternal hall for his fellow Masons in Hollywood. This temple had a large number of influential men among its members, included Hollywood real estate developer Charles Toberman, Broadway Department Store owner Arthur Letts, director D.W. Griffiths and studio head Cecil B. DeMille. The Masons occupied the building until 1980, when sagging membership forced the temple to close.

Building History

During Hollywood's Golden Age from the late 1920s until the 1960s, the Hollywood Masonic Temple thrived, with many prominent actors belonging as members. Architect and Mason John Corneby Wilson Austin (1870-1963) designed the bank-like temple of a building. Its total cost stood at $176,678, of which $56,421 was spent on furnishings, and $36,295 for the cost of land.

During the Depression era, however, the temple's fortunes reversed. Some members lost their fortunes when Hollywood's Guaranty Building and Loan Association, with more than $20 million in deposits and 22,000 depositors, collapsed on 12/13/1930. To pay its mortgage, some ground floor space was rented out for a social club, although this experiment ended soon after illegal slot machines were found in the space. By the late 1970s, cash for the building's upkeep again became scarce, and a portion of the first floor was leased for a restaurant. Expenditures for seismic and ADA upgrades proved too costly for the few Masons left in the temple. It closed operations in 1980, moving its members to new quarters in Van Nuys and later Tarzana.

In 1982, the Masons sold their temple for $700,000 to singer Rosita LaBello who hoped to create the Hollywood Opera & Theater Company's in the building. This ownership didn't last, and the Masons again took possession of the property. They then sold it to 6840 Hollywood Associates, an affiliate of Westmark Development headed by Nicholas Olaerts and Thomas L. Harnsberger. This firm leased the space to Detroit real estate developer and nightclub entrepreneur, James Hosenyi, in 02/1987. Hosenyi's Hollywood Live Entertainment Pavilions included an 800-person dance club, 500-seat jazz theater, and a 250-seat cabaret, but did not last long either.

By the mid-1990s, Buena Vista and Pacific Theaters had begun to lease the Masonic Theatre for special events, including turning the building into a toy box for the 1995 premiere of the movie "Toy Story," the first animated movie utilizing computer-generated imagery (CGI) produced by Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Feature Animation. Disney later purchased the theatre for premieres of its own in 1998: "The combination of live shows, videos, games and costumed characters was successful, and in 1998, Disney purchased the building and began regularly creating themed environments in conjunction with screenings. Buena Vista also rents out the space to others for industry parties, premieres, record releases and product roll-outs." (See Al Ridenour, Los Angeles, "A Chamber of Secrets," published 05/02/2002, accessed 11/19/2018.)

The American Broadcasting Company's late-night talk show, the Jimmy Kimmel Show, has been produced in the Hollywood Masonic Temple since 2002.


Changes were made to the building's first floor when parts of it were leased for use as a social club (1930s) and restaurant (1970s).

James Hosenyi underwrote a $1.5 million restoration of the space after he leased it in 1987. According to the Los Angeles Times writer, Evelyn De Wolfe, "Construction crews under the guidance of Hoseyni, architect Donald Bruce Randall (the Randall/Baylon Partnership of Los Angeles) and Tehran-born Kamal Kamooneh, a 30-year veteran architect (who has supervised most of the creative restoration on the building), are now working on a tight deadline to complete the project in time for a star-studded pre-opening party Wednesday [09/09/1987]. We've had some real problems bringing the building up to fire and seismic codes, upgrading its infrastructure, while also incorporating appropriate access for the handicapped," said Randall, who developed the since-revised renovation blueprint for a previous owner. The Masonic Temple was a private club when it was built and not designed to the same specifications required for public use." (See Evelyn De Wolfe, Los Angeles, "Hollywood Night Life Brightens : Masonic Temple to Reopen as Entertainment Center," published 09/06/1987, accessed 11/19/2018.)

PCAD id: 22534