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Hidden Histories: Taraval Temple

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Welcome to Curbed's ongoing series titled Hidden History, where Curbed Contributor Alex Bevk highlights a San Francisco location with a secret past. Maybe it’s no longer there, maybe it’s been converted into something else, but each spot holds a place in SF history - even if not many people know it. Have a suggestion or know a place with a secret history? The tipline's always open or you can leave a comment after the jump.

Golden Gate Masonic Temple at 14th & Taraval [Photo: Google Maps street view]

A reader asked for some information on a building on the corner of 14th Ave and Taraval. It currently houses the Golden Gate Masonic Temple and some other businesses, and looks like it had been carved up, but rumor has it that the building once housed a movie theater.

While the building certainly has some unique deco features that could resemble a movie theater of the era, in fact it has always functioned as a Masonic lodge. Constructed in 1928, the Taraval Temple at 2400 14th Avenue first appears in City Directory listings in 1930.

Details of the Taraval Temple [Photo: Flickr user throgers]

Golden Gate Lodge No. 30, F. & A. M. moved into the building in 1941. The temple interior has been modified a few times, but basically remains the same. Even though it looks like the building was carved up to hold extra stores recently, Sanborn maps show that the building housed other businesses at street level as early as 1950. There were a few stores along Taraval, and the frontage on 14th Ave had a couple storefronts too.

1950 Sanborn Insurance Map showing the corner where the Golden Gate Masonic Temple is located [Photo: ProQuest Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970]

Check out Flickr user Anomalous_A's detail shots of the building.
· Polk's Crocker-Langley San Francisco City Directory 1930 [Internet Archive]
· Lodge History [Golden Gate Esperanza]