McAlester Scottish Rite Masonic Center

 

History of the McAlester Scottish Rite Masonic Center

On February 2nd, 1901, a few Scottish Rite Masons met in Masonic Hall in South McAlester, Indian Territory (currently The Bank NA's parking lot on the southeast corner of 2nd and Washington), for the purpose of organizing a Lodge of Perfection of the Scottish Rite. The Lodge of Perfection consists of the 4th through the 14th Degrees, and establishing such a Lodge is the first step in creating a Valley. They petitioned the Southern Jurisdiction to allow them to form such a Lodge.

 

Their petition was approved. The first class met March 30th, 1901, with 23 members receiving the Lodge of Perfection degrees, the 4thº through the 14thº, in the Blue Lodge building. On May 4th, 1901, they reassembled and arranged for the first ceremonial of what they designated as Albert Pike Lodge No. 1 of the Valley of South McAlester.


 

Scottish Rite Masons eventually built their own building. It was a white, one-story frame building on Washington Avenue in McAlester (below, as seen looking west-southwest). They first met in their new building on February 13, 1904.


Interest grew. The Supreme Council approved other bodies, the designation of “Indian Consistory” was adopted, and the McAlester Scottish Rite was on its way. The membership grew fast and it was evident that more room was a necessity. The white building had been occupied for only a matter of months when a committee was appointed to perfect plans for a greater one. Membership at that time was 336.



A white stone and red brick building soon arose on a hill one block northwest of the original building – the site of the present Masonic Center. In 1906 the cornerstone was laid and in 1907 the new “Million-Dollar Temple” became a reality.



The current Masonic Center arose from the red and white building. The west end was extended 50 feet, tan brick replaced red. The interior was completely remodeled; in fact, what remains of the 1907 building is the east and part of the north façades. The largest stage in the Southern Jurisdiction was carved from the interior. The height of the building grew to a total of 140'. The lighted ball atop the building added another 30' and became known to all Masons as the "Great Light of Masonry".



In the mid 1950's there came a decree which required all Consistories in the Southern Jurisdiction to be named for their locations. It was at that time that the "Indian Consistory" became the “McAlester Consistory.” Exterior floodlights were installed in 1995 thus allowing the building to be better viewed at night. The McAlester Consistory has been classified as one of the "most beautiful" Scottish Rite buildings in the country.

 

 

In the spring of 1998, the McAlester Consistory, under the direction of the Sovereign Grand Inspector General Paul T. Million, Jr., elected to rename the Temple giving it the new title of The McAlester Scottish Rite Masonic Center. This Act was authorized by the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite. Over the years other Masonic Bodies began to gather and meet at the building, thus bringing all Masons together as a unified Masonic Family. Today, the McAlester Scottish Rite stands with a membership of 3,500.




Museum

 

Our museum was activated in 1955 and is a functional part of our Scottish Rite. Medals and mementos of those early-day men who founded and fostered the McAlester Consistory are on exhibit, along with elaborate aprons and sheathed swords of other Rites, whose owners pledged to all branches of Masonry. IN 1997 a major portion of the museum was moved and relocated to the first floor Lobby area where it may be viewed by all who visit the Center. The remainder of the museum is still located on the second floor east.




Pipe Organ

One of the largest and finest pipe organs in the entire country is located in the McAlester Scottish Rite Masonic Center. This custom -built Kimball Organ with a 51-bank console and over 3,100 pipes was installed in 1930. It's current appraised value is well over $550,000.00 Originally in the choir loft, it is now located in our auditorium.

The Largest Stage

With the exception of one other Scottish Rite Stage, located in the Northern Jurisdiction, ours is the largest stage of it's kind in the country. Why do we have such a large stage? We have found it none too large. The concepts which we develop in our degrees are so great and require so many characters that the 80' by 120' stage enables us to do justice to them. In addition, our scenery or "drops", which number over 110, measure 60' by 80'. They are gorgeous and are classified as irreplaceable. The artist, Tom Moses, was a 33rd degree Mason and one of the most talented artists of his time.



Make-up and Wardrobe

Our make-up department transforms our actors from a 20th century man into one who might have lived in ancient Egypt or later Judea, in appearance at least. After the make-up they are clothed in one of the over 600 costumes that fill our wardrobe room. All actors are Scottish Rite Masons, some of whom have been playing the same parts for many years.