Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sights and Places: Indianapolis Scottish Rite Cathedral

Situated downtown the Scottish Rite Cathedral is a beacon for Freemasonry in the area. Construction starting on May 3, 1927, and last for 2-years when the last stone was placed on February 26, 1929, at the cost of $2,500,000.  The dedication ceremony was held on September 10, 1929

The building consists of a 54-bell carillon (weighing over 56,000-lbs.) housed in the main tower, known as the Singing Tower, that rises 212-ft. The top of the tower is twelve fleurs-de-lis (four in each of the Cardinal directions). Over the main entrance depicts the story of the Ruffians, and above the doors, the motto "Spes Meo In Deo Est" meaning "Our faith is in God" is carved into the limestone. The building also contains a ballroom, a lounge room, and an auditorium/theater.

The main entrance, referred to as the Tiler's Room, is a cube of 33-ft to remind us of the highest degree one can attain in Scottish Rite Freemasonry. The windows above the entrance doors contain many emblems found in Masonry, from the First Degree of the Symbolic Blue Lodge to the 32 of the Scottish Rite.

From the website:
The floor is a reproduction of the floor in the Inner Chamber of King Solomon's Temple. In the center is a polished brass medallion which contains the 12 signs of the Zodiac and the symbols of the four bodies of Scottish Rite Masonry: The Triangle for the Adoniram Lodge of Perfection; the Scale of Justice for the Saraiah Council, Princes of Jerusalem; The Cross for the Indianapolis Chapter of Rose Croix, and the Double Headed Eagle in the center for the Indiana Consistory.
The ballroom also embodies the number 33 by being 99-feet square, pillars defining the dancing area as 66 ft (20 m) square, and the white oak floor panels are 33-inch square. The ceiling is of hand-painted acoustical tile so it blends in with the woodwork. The chandelier has 200 lights and weighs 2,500-lbs. It has a mezzanine or balcony 16-1/2 feet wide on all four sides of the second story. It is supported by 15 fluted oak columns 16-1/2 feet in the center. There are lounges at the south end of the ballroom and mezzanine. The anterooms between the lounges contain art glass windows that depict the degrees of the Scottish Rite (mezzanine level) and York Rite (floor level).

The Main Lounge is 99 Square Feet and is divided into thirds. In the lounge, there are 4 different conversational areas. The furniture is all arranged to give off a feeling of warmth, comfort, and hospitality.  There are also to be found hard-carved tables and chairs, etched with symbols.

From the website:
The windows on the east side of the lounge are dedicated to the arts and sciences: (from north to south) engineering, electricity, sculpture, architecture, art, music, law, and medicine. They were created by the Von Gerichten Glass Company of Germany and Columbus, Ohio, where they were assembled and then installed in 1929.  The art glass windows on the west side of the lounge were made by the Willet Stained Glass Studio of Philadelphia and installed in June 1975. Each contains a scene relating to the degrees from the Fourth through Eighteenth and the Thirty-Second. They were donated anonymously in memory of four distinguished Thirty-Third Degree Masons: George L. Clark, Ralph Hamill, Guy L. Roberts, and Oswald A. Tislow.
The theater is one of the most beautiful rooms in the cathedral. It is 99 square ft, 45-ft high, and 175-ft from the rear of the stage to the back of the fourth-floor balcony. The arena is 33-square ft and 15-inches below the stage area. The stage is 33-ft deep and 84-ft wide and has enough back-drops for various scenes of the 29 Scottish Rite degrees stored in the ceiling all operated by 12-miles of rope. The theater can seat about 1,100 people and an additional 200 on the chairs in the arena. The architecture is Cathedral Gothic, sometimes referred to as Medieval Gothic, and was patterned in large part after the details of the Cologne Cathedral.


1. Scottish Rite Cathedral (Indianapolis, Indiana). (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia:,_Indiana%29

2. Tour the Cathedral. (n.d.). Retrieved from Scottish Rite Valley of Indianapolis:

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