#ThursdayDoors — Scottish Rite Tour

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.

Hello doors.


Hello, floor.


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.

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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66 Responses to #ThursdayDoors — Scottish Rite Tour

  1. Such a goregous place! All those details… wow

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooooo, you have fallen into a novel. 😮 What an amazing setting, and details, and atmosphere. Beware that you return.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Victo Dolore says:

    Oh, wow! I am having extreme photo envy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ally Bean says:

    Absolutely amazing. Those doors, all of them. Those windows. The carvings, the floors. Wow. What a wonderful photo story you’ve put together here. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. girlandworld says:

    Magnificent well presented


  6. Joanne Sisco says:

    OH. MY. GOD!!!!

    What an awesome, AWESOME tour!!!!

    ok – new things I just learned:
    1) that sawdust is compressed and used to create new awesome stuff like detailed carvings. Wow.
    2) there is a difference between stained glass and glass art. Haven’t a clue what that difference is, but it all looked awesome.
    3) awesome is not a word I use very often, but it totally fits this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Thank you for your generous use of the word awesome, I couldn’t agree more.
      About the sculpted sawdust, I had no idea, either.
      The guide said each piece of glass was formed, painted, and then assembled. The painting isn’t one color per piece, as stained glass is, but rather, painted like one paints a picture. So on one piece of glass, there are varying colors. I’m thinking now about Jesus’s arm and how it had assorted shading in flesh tones. Helpful?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. eschudel says:

    Those are some gorgeous door…and windows…and woodwork… Thanks for sharing this!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Amazing…so glad you got to go inside that beautiful building. Those Masons…did it right ! I love the blend of history, Latin and zodiac art. Yes, we are book people, food people, but also movie people…and when I hear Carpathian, I think of Vigo. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a treat! Thank you for taking us on your tour. Beautiful pics! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Norm 2.0 says:

    Absolutely awesome post…phew…I’m exhausted.
    I so wish I has seen this place for myself. Maybe one day.
    It is amazing the amount of craftsmanship and artistry that goes into such grandiose spaces. All that wood and the carvings, and doors…bravo Joey, nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dan Antion says:

    Wow! I’m going to stick with Wow! such beautiful woodwork. Everything in every photo is wonderful, but I love the library the most. Thanks for including the details on the woodworking. I built a small table that has a top made of Carpathian Elm burl veneers. It’s such beautiful wood. I can imagine how hard it was to get good photos in the building, but you did very well. Thanks for taking us along on your tour.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Benson says:

    Wow. I was there and I was still awed by your pictures. Outstanding. You didn’t post the selfie.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Vicky says:

    Woop, what a place. Old, solid and such history too, thank you. There must have been a BIG boatload of Carpathian wood heading westwards! Amazing, the windows remind me slightly of the pre-Raphealites. Your guide looks he got into the spirit of Thursday doors too, what fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I know! Can you imagine all that wood? And then delivering it via railroad, and well, I was blown away. We think alike there.
      It was a great tour, and I’m glad you enjoyed it too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve been waiting for this post. It was almost like a cliffhanger when you said you were going back. It was worth the wait. If I found a place like that I might never leave.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Anxious Mom says:

    Wow, that place is beautiful. It’s almost hard to believe something can exist like that in the US when things are torn down all the time!

    Liked by 2 people

    • joey says:

      Ain’t that the truth?!? It’s all about the money. Like, the tour was supposed to cost $3, but the man never asked. When we left, I asked him and he said, “No no, you don’t have to pay.” That made me so…giddy…I stuck even more money in the donation box. They bring in massive amounts of money in revenue from renting out spaces, but I imagine it costs massive amounts of money to maintain it.
      So many places no longer bring in the dough.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. marianallen says:

    What a wonderful place! It’s all extraordinary, but the detail in the ceiling, which most people would never notice, is stunning. The elevator doors …. ALL THE THINGS!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Josh Wrenn says:

    Beautiful building. Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Bradley says:

    Incredible, Magnificent, palatial…I could get the thesaurus out and add more words, but I think you get the point. It’s hard to imagine that it’s not a church.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Simply spectacular. I wish I could visit it personally. While I was reading through I imagined me going around and admiring the craftsmanship and the work done. You did a great job with words and pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Gee, Joey, why didn’t you find a nice building to tour today? Maybe one that would make us all gasp at the doors, windows, and amazing glass. 🙂 Wow – unbelievably beautiful building. Thank you very much for the tour.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. garym6059 says:

    It is rather obvious you were stoked about this one :).

    Liked by 1 person

  22. jan says:

    Such a friendly looking guide!


  23. Judy Martin says:

    What a magnificent building. so many beautiful things to look at in one place. The coloured glass, the doors, the furniture, the detail! Thanks for showing us around this beautiful place, Joey 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. John Holton says:

    I like the docent’s hat. Fantastic place that I’d probably never see because I’m Catholic, so thanks for the tour!

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Well I’m pretty sure they’ll give anyone a tour. I’m not a Christian, but no one asked. It was my pleasure to share 🙂


      • John Holton says:

        Apparently the Masons don’t have a problem with Catholics, but Catholics have a problem with Masons. Which makes no sense; I’ve known lots of Shriners (all of whom are Master Masons), and they’re all very friendly and dedicated to helping kids. (Many, if not most, of the Shrines have a bagpipe band, and I played for a few years with another band in the Chicago era. One of the guys in our band was pipe major of the Orak Shrine band.)

        Liked by 1 person

  25. What a great tour, Joey! Each time I thought I’d seen the bestestest thing, one more showed up. So glad I could come along and see this (what else?) awesome place. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  26. It’s gorgeous!! All the woodwork is beautiful. I loved the ceilings! Thanks for the lesson about the sawdust, and art glass! I studied the rosettes and grapevine for a couple of minutes wondering how they got it to look so good and stick together? Amazing craftsmanship!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Wow (its the same spelled forward and backwards because you are literature people) 🙂 Loved that art glass (but since this is a Masonic Lodge ya think they were funnin you?). And the guide, wore that funny cap with the #32 in that inverted triangle – is that one of the Mason’s mysteries? Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Fabulous doors, floors, stained glass windows and those ceilings – wow. Great shots, Joey.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. So glad you took that tour. Everything is gorgeous. It makes me want to go find some old, fancy buildings. The detail work of the wood is spectacular. And Carpathian….the word itself just makes it sound all the fancier. Thanks for showing us around! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  30. reocochran says:

    This was a gorgeous Thursday’s Doors post, Joey! Sorry, it is “hit or miss” with me!

    Liked by 1 person

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