In a news release announcing that White was the donor, Masonic Temple officials say he stepped forward because he had played numerous shows at the theater and because his mother was employed at the Masonic Temple as an usher while he was growing up.Needless to say, Masonic Temple officials are thrilled:
The news release also says that both White and his mother share a "profound love for the gothic structure."
“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,” said Detroit Masonic Temple Association President Roger Sobran in the news release announcing that it was White who donated the money that was used to pay off the tax bill.About the theater:
Sobran added that the Masonic will be paying tribute to White and his donation: “in light of Jack’s generosity and belief in the importance of a strong, vital Temple that should and will be available to future generations of Detroiters, the Masonic Temple Association will be naming, in Jack’s honor, our Cathedral Theater, the ‘Jack White Theater.’
Detroit's Masonic Temple (The Masonic) is the largest building of its kind in the world. Construction began in 1920 and was completed in 1926.This may not have been the first time Jack White has stepped in to save a Detroit landmark. Back in 2009 he was suspected of being the anonymous benefactor who paid for a full restoration of a Detroit baseball field:
By 1908, interest and membership in Masonic fraternities had grown to such an extent that the Masonic Temple Association of Detroit began to consider either enlarging the existing Masonic Temple on Lafayette Boulevard or building a new, larger facility.
Land on Bagg Street (now Temple Avenue) was acquired and by 1920, the architectural firm George Mason and Company had completed an integrated design of a multi-function complex. Ground was broken on Thanksgiving Day, 1920. The cornerstone was laid on September 18, 1922, during a ceremony attended by thousands of Detroiters, using a trowel previously used by George Washington during the construction of the U.S. Capitol.
Significantly, the opening of the theater was celebrated during a concert by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ossip Gabrilowitsch, on February 22, 1926--George Washington's birthday. The formal dedication of the building took place on Thanksgiving Day, 1926. Once again, thousands of Detroiters were present for the ceremony.
George Mason's unique design included three theaters (one was never completed, but is sometimes used by movie-production crews), a Shrine building, the Chapel, eight lodge rooms, a 17,500 square foot drill hall, two ballrooms, office space, a cafeteria, dining rooms, a barber shop, 16 bowling lanes--1037 rooms in total--in addition to a powerhouse that generated all electricity for the complex.
The baseball field had fallen into disrepair, and according to Clark Park Coalition volunteer Diane Sumner, the group tried to get White to stage some kind of benefit concert with the hopes of raising money to fix up the field. White hoped to schedule something, but instead of the concert, one day Sumner received a phone call from a lawyer in Los Angeles who said an anonymous donor wanted to give the Coalition $170,000, the Detroit News reports.