The Temple of Music was designed to function as both concert hall and ceremonial stage. The members of the music committee had originally requested that a larger building be constructed to house concerts of instrumental and choral music. Financial constraints altered the plan, reducing the size of the hall and adapting it for multifunctional use. Upon completion, it stood 150 x 150 feet with a dome rising 180 feet above the floor of the Temple. Its seating capacity was 2,200.
rendering of the Temple of Music
The Temple was built by architect August C. Esenwein at a cost of $85,000 ($1,695,778.33 in 2001 dollars). Esenwein utilized an Italian Renaissance style in keeping with the overall architectural plan of the Free Renaissance style adopted by the Exposition Board of Architects led by John M. Carrère. The building bore elaborate decorative elements and four large sculptures by Isidore Konti over each of the four entrances. The color of the building, inside and out, was designed by Charles Yardley Turner to fit into his color scheme for the entire Exposition. Turner's colors for the Temple included red for the foundation with accents of blue, pale green, and terra cotta.
Unfortunately, the Temple of Music has become inextricably linked with the assassination of President William McKinley. The President was attending a reception in his honor at the Temple on September 6th when Leon Czolgosz stepped from the crowd and shot McKinley with a 32-caliber handgun. McKinley died eight days later, September 14th. Although the Temple of Music continued to serve its original functions, it had become a site of morbid curiosity for many visitors to the Exposition.
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