Masonic Home of Washington

Status: Most Endangered Places

Year Listed: 2015

Location: Des Moines, King County

Completed in 1926 as a retirement community for members of Washington’s Masonic Society, the Masonic Home of Washington features box beam ceilings, hand carved woodwork, stained glass, and terrazzo floors throughout. By 2004, the Masonic Grand Lodge of Washington initiated plans to market the property as a traditional retirement home, open to Masons and non-Masons alike, but the economic recession put these plans on hold. Instead, the building, its ornate facilities, and beautiful grounds, was utilized as an event center hosting weddings, film shoots, and corporate meetings.

The property was put up for sale in 2013, and event center operations ceased the following year. The property finally sold in August 2019 to EPC Holdings LLC for $11.5 million and was transferred to Zenith Properties LLC in November 2019. According to The Seattle Times, “The Masons submitted an application for a demolition permit in July 2019 as part of the sale. The city is currently waiting for additional materials from the current owners after they resubmitted the demolition permit application in September 2020.”

The building’s architectural features and exterior remain in good condition. Renovation of the building would require substantial investment—the Masons estimated $40 million—as many of the building’s systems are outdated and in need of replacement. The building does sit on a large parcel of land that could allow the coupling of rehabilitation with new construction to potentially make the project more financially feasible.