"House of the Temple"
Home of The Supreme Council, 33°,
Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry,
Southern Jurisdiction, Washington
This a front view at dusk.
Above the beautiful bronze door entrance reads, "Freemasonry Builds its
Temples in the Hearts of Men and among Nations"
One hundred and ten years to the day (May
31, 1911) after the founding of the Supreme Council, Grand Commander James D.
Richardson broke ground on the spot where the House of the Temple now stands
in our nation's capitol. Grand Master J. Claude Keiper, of the Grand
Lodge of the District of Colombia, laid the cornerstone in the northeast
corner two days after the opening of the biennial session (October 18, 1911).
The House of the Temple has 33
outer columns which are each 33 feet high. The outer design is simular to John
Russell Pope's concept of the National Archives.
The double-headed eagle, the chief
symbol of Scottish Rite is located on all the outside corners of the House of
the Temple. The crown represents the 33 degree. There is a subtle design
element in shape of the wings which mimic the palmette (palm leaf) pattern
that can be seen throughout the building.
This marble sphinx guard is
located at the main entrance.
Bust of George Washington is located in the North garden of the Supreme
Bronze lion door knocker at the
entrance to the House of the Temple.
North western and south western
views of the Atrium. The marble table is designed after a piece in
The Atrium is paved, centered and
bordered with antique marble.
Doric columns of polished green Windsor granite.
Carved and gilded ceiling beams
are made of solid oak.
Bronze standing lamp with the head of Hermes. The top is made of alabaster.
Four large solid bronze
chandeliers light up the atrium. The alabaster bowls. On the bowls there are
Grecian figures surrounding the bowls. A close-up of the chandelier
shows Medusa surrounded by twelve Greek figures.
Bronze frieze located on the top
of the Atrium. There is a candle lighting the darkness. Lux Inens Nos Agit.
Translation "The inner light leads us on." There are four
bronze friezes with the Scottish Rite double-headed eagle.
This wood chair is modeled after a
High Priest's seat in the theater of Dionysius. There is a carved eagle with
Egyptian styled wings similar to ones seen throughout the building.
Frontal and side view of the
Egyptian style statue at the foot of the Grand Staircase. The hieroglyphic
inscription reads - Established to the Glory of God" and "Dedicated to the
teaching of wisdom to those men working to make a strong nation."
Bronze plaque is banner of the
Supreme Council with American flags on both sides. The double-headed eagle is
the unique symbol of the Scottish Rite, and the motto of the Thirty-third
Degree is Deus meumque jus (God and my right).
A bust of Albert Pike on middle
eastern section of the Grand Staircase. Above the bust is an inscription -
WHAT WE HAVE DONE FOR - OURSELVES ALONE DIES WITH - VS. WHAT WE HAVE DONE FOR
OTHERS AND THE WORLD REMAINS AND IS IMMORTAL - ALFRED PIKE
Bronze lamps around a winding
marble Staircase lights the way to the Temple Chamber. These bronze
styled alabaster lamps are crowned by three serene faces of Egyptian beauty.
The walls of the Grand Staircase
show similarity to John Russell Pope's masterful curves of the National
Gallery of Art and the Jefferson Memorial.
Upward view of the Grand
Bronze nine pointed star. Upon
close examination there are three interlaced triangles.
The Tyler's or guardian's seat is
located across from the doors to the Temple Room. There is an inscription
"KNOW THYSELF" on the top of the marble seat.
The below pictures depict the Temple
Chamber, square with beveled corners, is surrounded in the crown molding by
the words, "From the outer darkness of ignorance through the shadows of our
earth life winds the beautiful path of initiation unto the divine light of the
At the center of the temple stands
an altar of black marble. Words are inscribed on the floor on all four sides -
From the light of the Divine Word, the Logos, comes the wisdom of life and the
goal of initiation.
Center alter view of the House of
the Temple. There are four books on the Alter; the Holy Bible, The Jewish
Torah, the Koran, and the
The Grand Commander's Station is
in the East. All the furniture is made of Russian Walnut from the trees that
were burned from a meteor strike in Russia.
A bronze door that goes out to the
ledge of the building.
Left: Inscription above the
Eastern entrance door of the Temple - WHOM TIS THE VIRTVE HATH JOINE DEATH
WILL NOT SEPERATE - TIS THE MYSTIC TIE THAT MAKETH ALL MEN BRETHREN.
Right: Upward Northern view
of the Temple. Words are inscribed in a black marble frieze in bronze letters
- FROM THE OUTER DARKNESS OF IGNORANCE THROUGH THE SHADOWS OF OUR EARTH LIFE,
WINDS THE BEAUTIFUL PATH OF INITIATION UNTO THE DIVINE LIGHT OF THE HOLY ALTAR
Upward view of the Skylight
directly above the the Grand Temple alter. The skylight is supposed to
represent the heavens.
Inside the Executive Chamber.
Bronze crown over the chair of the Supreme Commander.
Left: The Grand Commander's
sword and scepter. Right: The Pillars of Charity. 33
beams of light radiate from the eagle down to the exterior view of the House
of the Temple.
The tombs of Albert Pike,
Sovereign Grand Commander from 1859 -1891 on the left and John Henry Cowles,
Sovereign Grand Commander from 1921 - 1952 on the right.
Robert Burns Library - The
library reading room is open to the public Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to
The House of the Temple holds
oldest library open to the public in the District of Columbia.
The House of the Temple was designed by John
Russell Pope who based its design upon the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
(See Below), one of
the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Dedication of the building
occurred October 18, 1915, exactly four years after the cornerstone was laid.
The Supreme Council maintains a website at the
link below where you can take a virtual tour of this most magnificent Masonic
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus