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Innovative Way to Preserve a Salina Landmark

KSAL StaffNovember 10, 2017

A newly formed organization has an “innovative” business model to keep a nearly century-old Salina landmark open.

The vision of the Salina Innovation Foundation is to  “to protect and endow the Masonic Center building, and infuse it with new spirit and life.”. The historic building on South Santa Fe was recently donated to the recently formed local foundation. The foundation has the use of the entire facility, with the exception of the top floor which is still used by the local Masonic organization.

Mary Landes is the Director of the Salina Innovation Foundation, which celebrated its grand opening this week.

Landes told KSAL News that the building, with all of its history, is the perfect place of an organization like hers.


The historic space has been private, and a mystery to most Salinans for decades. Landes said that the Salina Innovation Foundation plans to allow the public to appreciate and enjoy the center for visual, performing, and culinary arts as well as private celebrations.


Potential uses of the facility include:

1st Floor:

  • Marble Atrium uses:
  • Local Art Gallery
  • Artist Loft Spaces
  • Private Events
  • Weddings
  • Meeting Space
  • Cultural Arts Performance Space
  • Lectures
  • Yoga & Meditation Classes

Commercial Kitchen:

  • Culinary Classes & Internships
  • Restaurant Incubation – try your idea in our space
  • Food Cart / seasonal on the front landing
  • Kitchen for Hire (bringing this back!)
  • Local Food Tastings and Events

2nd Floor:

  • Co-Working @ Salina Innovation
  • We are building a community of innovators, thinkers and dreamers. Find quiet or collaboration in our co-working space. Comfortable spaces to
  • spread out and work. Fast WiFi, Business Mentors, Technology Bar, Workshops, Lunch & Learns, Networking Events, Startup Resources.

3rd Floor: 1200 seat theater with large parquet wood dance floor.

  • Local musicians, performers, poets, singers and dancers, you have a stage!
  • Weddings
  • Private Events
  • Ballroom Dance Classes
  • Photography Backdrop
  • Local Lectures
  • School Music Performances

Other spaces:

  • Maker-Spaces and Artist Lofts
  • Recording Studio
  • Indoor Farmers Market

Private Rooms for:

  • Music Lessons
  • Therapy Sessions
  • Photography and Video Studios

The Kansas Sampler Foundation nominated the facility as one of the “8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture”, and described its history in the nomination.

The Masonic Center (formerly known as the Masonic Temple) was started in 1922 and completed in 1927. “The Landmark of the Valley” is widely famed for its Ionic columns and row of copper gargoyles along the roof line.

The rectangular concrete building is clad in Indiana limestone and Tennessee marble and measures 125 feet by 170 feet. Its monumental size and simplified classical form projects a sense of importance, permanence, and stability. The fluted Ionic columns each measure 42 feet with five foot diameters. A row of copper gargoyles some 86 feet above the ground form the cornice surrounding the entire rooftop.

Bronze doors, art glass chandeliers and windows and “angelwing” mirror marble wainscoting highlight the inside. Ornate egg and dart molding found near the ceiling throughout the building symbolizes Life and Death. The Center was designed around its magnificent third floor auditorium, which features a 36-foot high ceiling and has a seating capacity of 1,200 people. The elevated stage contains 104 century-old, hand-painted scenery drops that provide background for stage activities.

The Salina Masonic Center was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 2000.

Landes says that the space has been incredibly well preserved, but needs upgrades for accessibility and contemporary uses.

The easiest way to contact the Salina Innovation Foundation is online:

Salina Innovation Foundation Website

Salina Innovation Foundation Facebook

Calvin Arsenia from KC, performs inside the Masonic Center Thursday evening, on a nearly 100 year old stage, with a backdrop that was hand-painted in 1895.





Copyright © Rocking M Media, 2017. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story or website may be reproduced without Rocking M Media’s express consent.

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