From the Venerable Master (May 2018)

posted May 2, 2018, 11:29 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

The House of the Temple is the headquarters of the Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction.  It has been open to the public for tours since it opened in 1915.  It contains a number of museums, exhibits, and collections, including the Masonic collection of Illustrious Brother Burl Ives, the Albert Pike Museum, the Hall of Scottish Rite Regalia, and the Americanism Museum.


The library in the House of the Temple is the oldest in the District of Columbia that is open to the public, and houses more than 250,000 books, manuscripts, and other publications.  Among the contents are an impressively large Masonic collection, an Abraham Lincoln collection, and a Robert Burns collection.  Here also is the repository of Scottish Rite records, artifacts, and history, contained in the Archives.


The building was first proposed at the Supreme Council sessions in 1909, and the project was begun under the direction of Grand Commander James D. Richardson, who was given complete control of the building process.  After reviewing several submissions, he selected John Russell Pope, who also created the Jefferson Memorial, as the architect.  The ground-breaking ceremony took place on May 31, 1911, the 110th anniversary of the founding of the Southern Jurisdiction, in Charleston, South Carolina.  The cornerstone was set on October 18, 1911, and the building was completed in October, 1915.  It was patterned after the tomb of King Mausolus of Turkey


The House of the Temple stands 130 feet high.  It bears many attributes and dimensions of symbolic significance to Masons, including the 33 columns – each 33 feet high, and the steps leading to the front doors, in groups of thee, five, seven, and nine, in reference to Euclidian geometry. 

The Supreme Council is sponsoring the “Rebuilding the Temple” campaign, to help restore the House of the Temple to the glorious state in which it should remain.  You can donate to the campaign, through the House of the Temple Historic Preservation Fund, by going to the Supreme Council website:


We should consider how lucky we are to have such a wonderful headquarters building.