"House of the Temple"

Home of The Supreme Council, 33, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry,

Southern Jurisdiction, Washington D.C., USA

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 Council Building.

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 Pompeii.

    

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 Staircase.

   

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 holy altar." 

   

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 Bhagavad Gita.

   

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 3:30 p.m.

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 monument.

http://www.srmason-sj.org/web/index.htm

Mausoleum at Halicarnassus 

(Circa 352 BC)

 

         

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