Thursday, August 22, 2013

Traveler at Home: Scottish Rite Temple

A Santa Fe Landmark, the Scottish Rite Temple
Last week I had an opportunity to go on a tour of the Scottish Rite Temple in Santa Fe with a MeetUp group. I hadn't done anything with that group before, and was impressed that they'd managed to finagle a private tour. I have always been under the impression that the Temple was super secret and nobody was ever allowed inside unless they were Masons.

Wrong on many accounts.

The temple is often the location for weddings, dance parties, tango classes and other activities that require a large hall with a good finished wood floor. The hall is both dining room and dance floor. And hanging from the ceiling are three chandeliers created and donated by Charles Lewis Tiffany, a long time Mason who had come to New Mexico for his health. According to our guide, the three lamps are worth more than the entire building.

At right angles to the hall is the largest open air kitchen in the state of New Mexico. The kitchen is not as large as the one at the state pen, but that one is organized into several rooms. This is the largest single room kitchen. Three enormous coffee urns, fired by giant gas burners were among many large devices designed for cooking and serving up to 1400 people at one meal.

The temple is used by the Masons for morality plays. In the large auditorium there is a grand piano, many wonderful material backgrounds rolled up in the space above the stage, and some lovely paintings of the Alhambra in Spain, the inspiration for the bright pink building.

Backstage was the costume room with beautiful embroidered robes in glass cases. They looked like they were one-size-fits-all.....and probably were since they are used over and over by many different sizes of men.
Tiffany chandelier

The center courtyard, a feature that vaguely resembles the real Alhambra, was filled with flowers and was quite striking with the pink stucco, bright white clouds, and deep blue Santa Fe sky.

The Scottish Rite Temple is quite a landmark, and now, not such a secretive one. It was a pleasure to see it from the inside out.

Inside the large auditorium

Nicely landscaped courtyard

Painting of the Alhambra

View of the stage

Costumes in the wardrobe.