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Jack White Saves Legendary Detroit Theater By Paying Its Taxes

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Initially announced as being an anonymous benefactor who helped pay down a $142,000 tax bill the Detroit Masonic Temple owed was revealed Tuesday to be former White Stripes frontman Jack White.

The 14-story building fell into foreclosure briefly in April, but a deal was worked out at the last minute to halt the proceedings. It would've gone on the auction block in September had another payment on the delinquent property taxes not been paid off by a deadline set for this week.


Born in the city, White's been a fixture at the largest masonic temple in the country since he was a kid — his mom served as an usher there, the Detroit Free Press says.

The White Stripes first gig, a bit of a legend around here, was in 1997 opening for The Hentchmen at the Golden Dollar, a now shuttered venue along the Cass corridor. Six years later, they were selling out The Masonic Temple.


The Freep continues:

In addition to White’s personal history there — White’s mother as an usher, seven White Stripes shows, two solo performances — (White's nephew, Ben) Blackwell cited the Masonic’s past rock glories, including hosting shows by the MC5, the legendary provocative Detroit band that the White Stripes would one day cover.

“That’s why a venue like this should keep on going. It’s all connected,” Blackwell said.

(Blackwell, it should be noted, plays in The Dirtbombs, another great Detroit-based band.)

The Masonic Temple Association, who runs operations at the building, said in a statement that the temple's 27,878-square-foot Cathedral Theater would be renamed the Jack White Theater.


The Masonic Temple is really a beautiful building and is worth a visit for anyone passing through. The association offers daily tours. (Louis CK performed last year at the temple, and, via my roommate's recollection, to note how much he was in awe of the place, quipped: "Jesus, how did the bombs miss this place?")

Photo Credit: Getty Images