Per my invitation, Benson agreed to meet us at the Scottish Rite Cathedral last Thursday morning. It was incredible, and given the opportunity, you should take a tour.
Let’s start with the basics. The guide said the cathedral is not a church, and never was. It has always been a Masonic building. You may recall I wrote it was built in 1927-1929 for $2.5 million? The guide added that if such a building were constructed now, it would cost about $100 million.
Its exterior is Indiana Limestone, of course. The floors, Tennessee Marble. The walls, travertine. The wood is from the Carpathian forest. I made the guide repeat that, “Did you say Carpathian?”
“Yes. I did. Carpathian. Does that mean something to you?”
I waved around at my company and said, “Yes, we are literature people.”
Benson said, “Sure. Dracula!” and I don’t think the tour guide ‘got’ us.
I tried to get the guide to join us all in a mirror selfie, but he didn’t get that either, so I got this instead.
Great guy, very polite and personable.
Anyway, that Carpathian Mountain wood, when they were done cutting and carving it, they used the sawdust to create pressed wood features, like the frequent grapevine and the rosettes. The woodwork is amazing. The details are amazing.
I had to resist touching everything. It was hard.
I could have written an entire post about the magnificent furniture. I say WOW.
While the cathedral is said to be an excellent example of Neo-Gothic architecture, the guide said it’s actually Tudor. He mentioned that because it’s not Gothic, there are no gargoyles, but there are grotesques — which I had not noticed, even though they’re ubiquitous and I had photographed the exterior of the building TWICE. Once we were outside, I looked for them, and I found them, but I failed to photograph them, because I am deeply flawed.
The glass is not stained glass, it’s art glass. It’s everywhere, too, and it’s absolutely beautiful.
The window panels open, and are handled, so they’re also kinda doors. I love the hardware on the windows.
I had to turn the lighting up in all of my pictures, because the light in the cathedral is low. Even still, my eyes caught details at every turn.
Behold, the elevator doors. There are four sets of these beauties.
The guide did remember we were literature people when he took us to the library and we all gasped. Again, the details.
The library is large, and within it, my iPhone camera barely knew where to look. Benson said he’s going to go back again with his Canon.
Have you noticed all the lighting is gorgeous? Looking up, the ceilings are magnificent as well.
I really loved the ceilings.
Here’s the ballroom, in all its splendor.
Y’all, my vertigo had me spinnin in there. I preferred the lower level. With its floating floor, you could dance all night…
After that, our guide showed us to the auditorium.
Door to the auditorium, with flash, because otherwise, you no see door no good at all.
Yeah, I didn’t get a great photo of it, cause dark, but I did try.
In case of fire door:
Pretty fancy hardware compared to modern day versions.
Then we saw some less fancy, backstage sorta things — mailbox doors —
And a peek into the commissary, which we all noticed smelled like French fries. How did we know? our guide inquired. Easy enough — we are literature people, and food people.
And so, we went to lunch.
But before that, one last door.
I hope you enjoyed our tour, and I’m very glad to share it.
#ThursdayDoors is part of an inspired post series run by Norm Frampton. To see other doors of interest, or to share your own, click the link.