Jack White Saves Famous Venue, The Detroit Masonic Temple

Nick Giannettino

by Nick Giannettino

Published June 5, 2013


Facing foreclosure, Detroit's famous Masonic Temple was saved by an anonymous donor, who would later be revealed to be musician Jack White, who paid the Temple's entire tax debt of $142,000.

Detroit's Masonic Temple is the world's largest masonic temple. Not only has Jack White performed seven White Stripes shows and two solo performances there, but The Rolling Stones and The Who played Detroit's Masonic Temple some years prior. Furthermore, White's mother worked as an usher there, and the White Stripes' first public show ever was at a club just a block over called The Gold Dollar.


Ben Blackwell, White's nephew, spoke to The Detroit Free Press on the venue's significance to his Uncle Jack:

“What really puts it all in context were those first two White Stripes performances in April 2003 — two consecutive nights, one in the small room, the other in the big room. From the loading docks you could see the Gold Dollar. It took years, four albums and how ever many of tour miles to go that very significant half a block.”

The first two White Stripes' shows at the temple mentioned above were both sold-out, and six years into the White Stripes' career. In light of White's major contribution, the temple's Cathedral Theater, a.k.a. the Scottish Rite, will be renamed in his honor as the Jack White Theater.


The temple's Association President, Roger Sobran, commented:

“Jack’s donation could not have come at a better time and we are eternally grateful to him for it. Jack’s magnanimous generosity and unflinching loyalty to this historic building and his Detroit roots is appreciated beyond words.”

The Detroit Masonic Temple is still scheduled to host future events, and can be viewed on their website here. Any donations to go towards the Masonic Temple to keep a situation like this from happening again can be made out to The Masonic Temple Preservation Fund on their website as well.

Check out this bootleg audio of The White Stripes playing the Masonic Temple in 2005 along with some cool poster art images and photos:

Jack White
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