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The Heritage of the Guthrie Temple
On April 22, 1889, Harper Samuel Cunningham, 33°, made the Run of the Unassigned Lands which opened up for settlement what is now the five counties of central Oklahoma. He came to practice law in the newly opened Territory. And he came to establish the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in what would soon become Oklahoma. While he was here, he saw to it that one of the finest examples of fraternal architecture was constructed in the heart of Guthrie, which was the seat of the Territorial government, and the First State Capitol of Oklahoma.
Designed for the use and benefit of the Masonic Fraternity in Oklahoma, the original Temple was situated at the Northeast corner of Harrison and Broad Streets in downtown Guthrie. It was a splendid building. It served the Masons well from 1899 to 1923.
But the fact is we outgrew it!
So, when the citizens of Guthrie voted to give the Scottish Rite Building Company the 10.6 acres originally platted as the Capitol Park, including the old Legislative Hall which housed the State legislature before the capital was moved to Oklahoma in 1910, and which served another 9 years as the site of Oklahoma Methodist University, we voted to erect a new Temple. We attached it to the old state house, making more than 400,000 sq. ft. of floor space available to meet our fraternal needs.
And what a beauty it is! Among the top three Masonic edifices in North America in overall architectural beauty and interior design, the great Scottish Rite Temple at Guthrie continues today as Oklahoma’s most beautiful building. Many European artisans were imported to work on the building. It is a virtual storybook of architectural history. And it is a tribute to the vision of men and civilizations who have joined art and culture and made a lasting influence on building design. It is a marvel in architecture and a wonder in stone and ornamental plaster. The ageless beauty of its classic lines serves well for an organization which teaches that man must build for eternity.
The building, huge and imposing, is still warm, human and welcoming. Inside, the human spirit feels not insignificant, but elevated.
The Scottish Rite Masons of Guthrie are happy that you have logged on for a virtual tour of our wonderful Masonic Center. We hope you enjoy your tour. And feel free to come see us yourself at any time. You will always be welcome!
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