- 1885 -
Pike's desire to establish the Scottish Rite in all parts of
led to a organizational meeting in the "City of the Angels", a
small town of about 12,000 in 1885. Pentalph Lodge No. 202 on Main
Street was the scene of the constitution of King Solomon Lodge of
Perfection No. 14, Robert Bruce Chapter of Rose Croix No. 6 and the
Hugues Despaynes Council of Kadosh No. 3. The Bodies met at the Main
Street Location for less than two years when they moved to First and
Spring Streets where they held meetings for ten years.
At that time only the Grand
Consistory of California in San Francisco conferred the Consistory
Degrees. The distance and expense involved prompted the constitution of
a "Particular Consistory" in Los Angeles. By 1895 the
"lodge room" in the Bonebreak Building on First and Spring
became inadequate and an Impressive three story Masonic Hall was built
at 431 Hill Street.
It was occupied by the Scottish Rite Bodies, the York Rite and three
blue Lodges. By 1900 the membership had reached about 200 and so a
larger Temple was erected at 929 Hope Street, "with a little money
and a "lot of faith."
In spite of the losses to
Santa Barbara (1931) and Bakersfield (1945) when they were instituted,
the growth continued. The membership in 1950 reached 7,378 with a
class of 300. It was time for another new Cathedral. After diligent
search was made the Rite purchased four lots on Wilshire Boulevard to
build a new Temple. The Cathedral, four stories high, with an exterior
of Italian Travertine marble, embellished with mosaics and gold
lettering and adorned with eight 15 foot statues is, indeed, a
monumental edifice. On April 28, after 55 years at the Hope Street
address, the first Stated Meeting of the Rite was held on October 6,
It is quite natural that the
Los Angeles Bodies are deeply involved in theatrical and musical
performances. An orchestra had been established as early as 1911 and the
Scottish Rite Male Chorus held its 40th birthday in 1955. The Scottish
Rite Players staged many productions for the entertainment of the
brethren and their families.
The one day class of 330
candidates in November, 1974, brought the membership to over 11,000. In
1980, Los Angeles was the largest Valley in the second largest Orient of
the Southern Jurisdiction, and the 14th largest Valley in the
Jurisdiction. It became necessary in 1994 for the Rite to find a
temporary home and to explore locations for a new Temple.
It had been a long-time
mission of the Los Angeles Bodies to
establish the California Cultural Heritage Museum; a place for people to
learn about the heritage of their communities. In August of 1996 a
permanent home for the Museum and library was found
at Beverly Hills Lodge No. 528. The Elsworth Myer Gallery is designed to
introduce Masonry to the public. The William R. Hervey Gallery focuses
on the City of Los Angeles and the Scottish Rite from 1885 to 1950. Both
museums display memorabilia, historical photographs and documents, all
available for public viewing and research.
The Los Angeles Scottish Rite
Childhood Language Disorders Clinic was dedicated in March 1977. By
September it was necessary to expand the Clinic schedule from three days
a week to five because of the increasing number of children who needed
treatment. Since its opening it has evaluated 1,147 children and 593
have received speech therapy. There are, in 1999, 34 children currently
enrolled and 24 on a waiting list. Two full-time speech/language
pathologists work with children who exhibit difficulties in many areas
of speech impairment. Mild difficulties are remedied completely by the
time they leave the center.
More severe cases are
referred to community resources. (2)
thanks to all those, names and nameless,
who helped me amass the materials used in compiling
this history of the Orient of California.
Robert D. Haas 33°
1. California First
Century of Scottish Rite Masonry p. 79 ff.
Los Angeles Bodies
2. Los Angeles Bodies, Bulletins,