115 W Main

Project Overview

Architect: Altered by Royer         Year Built: 1871       Architectural Style: Classical Revival


Architectural Description

115 W. Main is a Classical Revival building built in 1871 and located in downtown Urbana. The building, known as Tiernan’s Block or the Masonic Temple, is a local historic landmark.
Tiernan's Block is four stories tall with a symmetrical façade and is clad in white “rusticated” terra cotta with a limestone base. The terra cotta was made to appear like limestone, with recessed mortar joints and protruding blocks. The main entrance is accented by a broken triangular classical pediment with ornamental brackets supporting an egg and dart and dentil molding. Horizontal rows of rectangular double-hung windows cover the façade and are divided by vertical pilasters and horizontal spandrels. The spandrels are decorated with garlands. The central part of the cornice is higher than the two sides.

Historical Description

The 100 block of West Main is one of the first commercial blocks in Urbana. Originally most of he structures were wood frame, until, the Busey family constructed a new brick building for their bank in 1870. Busey's Hall was the first brick block constructed in downtown Urbana. These large buildings were known as blocks at this time and were named after the person who funded the construction. The use of brick as a construction material quickly increased in downtown Urbana after a fire in 1871 destroyed most of the downtown area. This fire was compared to the Chicago fire of the same year for the amount of devastation to the community. Busey's Block survived this great fire because of its brick construction, and from then on brick has been used as the main construction material in the downtown area. Frank Tiernan followed this trend when he built his block in 1871, after the fire. It was a three-story structure, with his grocery store on the first floor, lawyer and dentist's offices on the second floor, and a large hall space on the third floor. Tiernan's Hall, on the third floor was a popular opera house, as was Busey's Hall across the street.
In 1887, Tiernan's Hall closed, selling the space to the Masons in 1889. The Masonic Lodge No. 157, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, occupied this building for over 100 years, and did many renovations. There was a fire in 1893 that burned down the St. Nicholas Hotel on the east side of the Masonic Temple, gutting the lodge area. The lodge area had been attached to the hotel, open through large arches. The interior was refurbished and the roof replaced within a year. In 1914, the Masons funded a full renovation of the building, complete with a new interior and facade. The interior was redone in blue and gold, and all new furniture was purchased. The facade was then a Classical Revival design with a Beaux-Arts parapet. In the early 1950's, they discovered that the parapet was not structurally sound. The Classical Revival facade that we see now was completed in 1953 by architects Royer and Davis as an alteration to this 1914 facade. The Beaux-Arts parapet was replaced with this classically detailed parapet. Although the second floor has always remained office spaces, the first floor of the Masonic Temple has changed along with the downtown. The original use as a grocery and drugstore remained for many years, although owned by various people, such as Amsbary and Sawin, and McAllister's. It was converted to the Urbana Department Store in 1935, and J.S. Penny took over in 1940. Lorry's Sport Store occupied the first floor storefront from 1966 until 1982. Since then it has housed many types of restaurants.
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Created on: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 14:22
- Author - admin
- Contributors: KevinG