The Grand Tour
History of the Building
The Scottish Rite Cathedral is so named because it looks like one but it is NOT a church. Edward Ulysses Henry visited the massive cathedrals in Europe and when he came back to Peoria he knew exactly how he wanted his building to look. It took some years to build and on January 13, 1925 it was finally dedicated. It has been standing there majestically for all those years.
The Scottish Rite Cathedral houses The Freemasons (degrees 1-3), The Scottish Rite Masons (degrees 4-32) and The Demolay (open to kids ages 12-21). It is also the site for the Children’s Dyslexia Center of Peoria, Illinois, which is its main charity.
At one time there were over 7,000 members but today the roles have shortened to around 1,500. For all you architectural fans, the building has a flying buttress, incredible stained glass and an auditorium that is awesome as the kids love to say.
The beautiful Gothic Cathedral has the interior of an English Great Hall. On different levels, a balcony and a mezzanine there are just over 900 seats. The organ is extensive with 4,000 connecting pipes to supply the steam power. It has lounges, a library with documents dating back to 1900, card rooms, offices and a LOT of stairs.
This building can be seen from the Interstate (I-74) and it towers above the skyline like some building from ancient Europe. It was constructed over a period of almost 3 years and cost $400,000 to complete. The local builder was Val Jobst and sons, and the parking lot adjacent to the building has space for at least 300 cars.