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
Scottish Rite Temple
10th St. & VanBuren St.
The following is a building description taken from the 1920 Fall Reunion Booklet and outlines the plans for this magnificent structure. Full construction began in 1921 and was completed in 1923. Several Masonic groups called this home until it was razed in 1970 to make way for the Kansas Judicial Center and state employee parking areas.
The New Temple, as planned, is truly a sky scraper in feet and inches which has been very skillfully executed and made to appear as a monumental building, which is indeed quite a feat, since the monumental building is never a high structure. One extremely competent critic says, "The design has excellent scale, a good sense of proportion and shows great refinement in detail, and the Valley of Topeka will get a Temple of which they can be very proud."
The formality of the arrangement has been no easy task. The fact that the building is to accommodate all of the several Masonic Bodies made the task doubly arduous. Many drawings were made in order that the specific needs of each body might be disclosed, considered and provided for. The final adoption of the various schemes was one to combine all in one organic whole, and its sub-divisions had to be separated that coincident activities would not clash. The divisional feature was made to apply to all requirements, Masonic, club and social activities. One must not interfere with the other, and yet both might be under full sway at one and the same time. It was necessary also to so arrange the various divisions that free and easy access might be had from one to the other should the occasion require.
The planning of the New Temple is the combined work of the Associate Architects. Brother Frank C. Squires, 32º and Brother Thomas W. Williamson, 32º. The building is 148' 2" on 10th St. by 208' 9" on Van Buren St. The building is characterized by a large scaled Greek Doric Order, and a skillful vigorous handling of stone work in pilasters and rustications. It is three stories and balcony high, which, with the mezzanine stories would equal an eight story building, and rises to a height of 100' above the 10th St. sidewalk. The basement story floor is 16' below the sidewalk.
The building contains 26,500 square feet of actual floor space in each story plus the mezzanine stories, and the entire building contains 3,000,000 cubic feet of space.
Entering the building at the main entrance on Tenth Street, you ascend the steps which are 60' long and fifteen in number, arranged 3-5-7, with a 4' platform between each flight, with the top platform 14' wide. The entrance opening is 10' wide and 18' high, with elaborate moldings, cornice carvings, brackets, etc., and solid cast bronze doors. At each side entrance is an elaborate bronze electric light fixture.
The entrance on Van Buren Street is a duplicate of the Tenth Street entrance, with the exception that the entrance steps approach the building in one unbroken flight.