History

Learn more about the Valley of Charlotte

The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, as we know it today, had its origins on the continent of Europe. Its immediate predecessor, known as The Order of the Royal Secret, consisted of 25 Degrees under the Constitutions of 1762. Masonic tradition maintains that Lodges of this Rite, transmitted from Bordeaux in France through the West Indies to the American mainland, were established at New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1763; at Albany, New York, in 1767; at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1781–82; and at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1783. The Grand Constitutions of 1786 provided for an extension of the Rite to thirty-three Degrees, governed in each country under a Supreme Council of the Thirty-third and Last Degree. Its provisions were cited in a Manifesto at Charleston that confirmed the first Supreme Council ever opened under these Grand Constitutions, on May 31, 1801, “by Brothers John Mitchell and Frederick Dalcho.” All regular and recognized Supreme Councils and their Subordinate Bodies today are descended directly or collaterally from this Mother Supreme Council of the World.

Valley of Charlotte – Of the 3 million Masons in the United States, there exist over one million Scottish Rite Masons. The Southern Jurisdiction includes more than 600,000 masons from Valleys in 218 cities. The Valley of Charlotte has around 7300 members. Little is known about the beginning of the Valley of Charlotte Scottish Rite Bodies because of the 1937 fire that destroyed the Masonic Temple and records. Walter Scott Liddell 33°, has always been considered the founder of Scottish Rite Masonry in Charlotte. James Wakefield Courtland, 33° S.G.I.G and Walter Scott Liddell, 33° issued Charters (or Letters Patent of Perpetual Constitution as they were called) on the following dates: Charlotte Lodge of Perfection #2, July 9, 1901; Mecklenburg Chapter #1, October 5 1901; Charlotte Council #1, May 27, 1907; Carolina Consistory #1, December 18, 1907. We do know that in 1869 many of the Masons of Charlotte and vicinity met in the rooms of the Springs building, on the corner of Tryon and Trade Streets. They built the first Masonic Hall on the third floor of the Hutchison Building (111-115 N. Tryon St.), the Temple Association paying Mr. Hutchison $1,800 for a 5 year lease without rent. He returned the $1,800 to them at the expiration of their lease. In January 1902, the Masonic Bodies occupied the top floor of a building at 222-226 South Tryon St. It is assumed, by this historian, that the Scottish Rite Bodies, from their inception, met in one or both Tryon Street locations. In 1912 the Masonic Temple Association bought property at the corner of South Tryon and Second Streets, for $32,500. In 1913 they awarded a contract for the erection of a temple. The total cost of the lot, building and equipment was $122,750. The Scottish Rite Bodies then occupied the third floor of this building. On March 4, 1937 at 12:15a.m. a fire, of unknown origin, gutted what was one of the loveliest Masonic Temples in the south, leaving only four walls and a mass of burned debris. Work began on rebuilding the Temple in February 1938 and on October 11, 1938 the Temple was dedicated. The cost of rebuilding was $115,000. Scottish Rite remained in this building until October of 1979, at which time they held their first Reunion in the new Scottish Rite Temple on Randolph Road.

Scottish Rite Temple – A four and one-half acre tract of property at 4740 Randolph Road was purchased in 1975 at a cost of $110,000. Construction of this handsome temple began in March 1978 and the building was completed and delivered by the contractor in time for the Fall Reunion of the Bodies in October 1979. The building contains 35,000 square feet and cost $2,088,473. The auditorium seats 900, including the choir loft and balcony. The scenery and curtains, which were purchased after the 1937 fire from Volland Studios Inc. St. Louis, MO, were sent back to be cleaned and extended in width to accommodate the new stage. The building also includes a Blue Lodge room, a dining room and kitchen that will accommodate 650, a beautiful library and offices. The final debt on the building was paid off in January of 1987, only seven years after completion.