Paul R. Oldham
Donald A. Mahrle
Kelly D. Kraemer
Design - Kelly D. Kraemer, 32º KCCH
Copyright © 2014 Topeka Scottish Rite Bodies
Webmaster - Paul R. Oldham, 33º
On February 26, 1886 the Masonic Bodies formed a joint committee called The Masonic Temple Building Association in order to raise funds for a Masonic Temple. The joint committee was made up of a representative from the Scottish Rite, York Rite, Topeka Lodge 17, Orient Lodge 51, and Lodge 225. This was the Masonic structure as of 1886 and in their quest for a permanent Temple Building. On October 1, 1888 the MTBA purchased 4 lots facing 8th Street on the Southwest corner of 8th and Quincy Streets for $13,500. The building of a permanent structure on this site never materialized because of bickering among the five bodies and delays in gaining financing. On March 18, 1938 Topeka offered $40,000 for these lots in order to build a new City Hall and Auditorium. The Masonic Bodies agreed to sell.
On July 7, 1893 the City Real Estate Company of Kansas City, Missouri offered to rent the 4th and 5th floors of the Dennis Ewart Building located at 619-621-623 Jackson Street to the Masonic Bodies for $750 per year. This building had been built in 1889 but was in distress during the economic downturn of the 1890's. This building was 75' wide and 150' deep and was five floors high with an elevator. The 4th floor was made up of two rooms. The front room was called the Red Room and had a shallow stage within it for the Scottish Rite to hold their Reunions. The back room was called the Blue Room where most of the lodge meetings were held. Now that we have a good understanding of where the Masonic Bodies were located let us skip to the history of the Scottish Rite Bodies.
The Scottish Rite story begins with an individual named Erasmus Theodore Carr who was a descendent of an old Scottish family that first emigrated from Scotland to Northern Ireland and then to America where his ancestors settled in Rhode Island many years before the Revolution. He was the son of Almond Carr and Arathusa Maria Morse and was the eldest in a family of twelve children. He was born in Saratoga Co., NY on October 28, 1825.
His ambition early in life was to be a builder and before attaining his majority he had thoroughly learned the trades of bricklayer, mason, and carpenter. He then began studying architecture. In 1852 he moved to Syracuse, NY to follow his profession as a builder until 1855. He then moved west to St. Paul, MN. While in St. Paul, he was offered the Assistant Superintendency of Repairs at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. He accepted the position and moved to Kansas during the Fall of 1855.
7th & Kansas Ave