Freemasonry has been in existence in Europe and then in the United States for hundreds of years. Scottish Rite Freemasonry gradually evolved as an appendant body of Freemasonry in the United States in the latter 1700's, resulting in the eventual creation of the first governing Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite in Charleston, South Carolina in 1801. The group at the core of the founding movement of the Scottish Rite depicted as the 'Eleven Gentlemen of Charleston' of whom also comprised the original members of the Supreme Council of May 31, 1801. Later this Supreme Council would be known as the The Supreme Council (Mother Council of the World) of the Inspectors General Knights Commander of the House of the Temple of Solomon of the Thirty-third Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America or more simply referred to as the Southern Masonic Jurisdiction (SMJ).

NORTHERN MASONIC JURISDICTION
The second Supreme Council in the world was established in Santo Domingo in 1802. This Supreme Council died with the slave revolt on the island, but one of its members, Antoine Bideaud, fled to New York. While there he came across five Frenchmen who were interested in the high degrees. Bideaud conferred the degrees upon these men and formed them into a “Consistory” of the 32° - all without the knowledge of the Charleston Supreme Council.

The same year that Bideaud was creating his Consistory, Joseph Cerneau, a French jeweler, moved from Cuba to New York City. He had a patent from an Inspector of the Order of the Royal Secret that gave him limited powers in Cuba, but that didn’t stop him from setting up his own consistory in New York City.

Emmanuel de la Motta, the Grand Treasurer from the Charleston Supreme Council, arrived in New York City in 1813, examined the two competing factions, and decided against Cerneau. De la Motta regularized Bideaud’s group and transformed them into the second Supreme Council for America, now known as the “Northern Masonic Jurisdiction” and consisting of 15 mid-western and northeastern states from Wisconsin and Illinois northeast to Maine. The original Supreme Council or “Southern Jurisdiction” is composed of the other 35 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. All regular Supreme Councils of the world today descend from the Mother Supreme Council of Charleston. The resulting conflict with the Cerneau Supreme Council was successfully resolved when the two Supreme Councils combined into the Supreme Council of the Northern Jurisdiction in 1867. This Masonic peace of the era was shortlived as a previously expelled member of the Cerneau Supreme Council began his own version of the Cerneau Scottish Rite degrees he dubbed the 'Ancient and Primitive Rite of Freemasonry' that survived until 1919 as noted in the Cerneauism section of this website.

KANSAS CITY
What is presently the Kansas City Valley of the Scottish Rite was originally established by a local group of Master Masons in 1884, faltered, then was re-established in 1887 to become a permanent presence in Kansas City history. The Kansas City Scottish Rite resided in a variety of locations until, after some years of deliberation, construction was begun on a grand building on the site of their current residence at Linwood and Paseo Boulevard in 1928. The Valley of Kansas City officially took residence in the Kansas City Scottish Rite temple in December 1930.

The Kansas City Scottish Rite
Early
in 1884, several Master Masons in Kansas City had requested the establishment of a Lodge of Perfection in Kansas City; however their request had been rejected by the Sovereign Grand Inspector General in Missouri, Brother Martin Collins, 33°. Not satisfied with that rejection, the Brethren prevailed upon Charles A. Peake and Stephen Thatcher to go to Washington D.C. to meet with the Sovereign Grand Commander Albert Pike. The Grand Commander agreed to meet with those Brothers and listened to their request. He did not want to "go over the head" of Brother Collins, but agreed to write him to ask that the dispensation be granted. Brother Peake noted that his business required almost constant travel and that he could not take more time from his work, so he asked if he could not take a "good report" back to Kansas City. Impressed by the demonstration of enthusiasm, Grand Commander Pike determined to contact Brother Collins by telegraph and gain his consent, to come to Kansas City and to confer the degrees on those who were petitioning for the new Lodge of Perfection.

The next day, Grand Commander Pike and Secretary General Ireland accompanied the two Brethren to Kansas City. While the Grand Commander and Brother Ireland refreshed themselves at the Coates House, the interested Masons gathered and shortly thereafter the degrees were conferred by Sovereign Grand Commander Pike. A few days later a meeting was called to organize the new Lodge of Perfection. Zerbal Lodge of Perfection was chartered on May 16, 1884 and signed by Grand Commander Pike. Sovereign Grand Inspector General Collins signed the new charter in June of that year. The Zerbal Charter is available for viewing.

Illustrious Brother Martin Collins, 33°, Sovereign Grand Inspector General of Missouri, reported the establishment of Zerbal Lodge of Perfection in Kansas City and transmitted the remittance resulting from the formation of that Body to the Supreme Council, on July 10, 1884. Having successfully organized Zerbal Lodge of Perfection, it fell to the Officers and Members to increase membership and to move that Lodge forward. In late June and early July of 1885, Sovereign Grand Commander Albert Pike again visited Kansas City to work to strengthen the new Lodge of Perfection. Unfortunately, we are told that Zerbal Lodge of Perfection was never a very active body. Further, the "Early History of the Scottish Rite in Kansas City" article in the October-November issue of The Scottish Rite Progress reports that "Internal dissensions were said to be responsible for its final disintegration." What a sad commentary for Masonry. No meetings were held for an extended period and at the Supreme Council Business Session of October 22, 1886, the Committee on Subordinate Bodies recommended that the "Letters Temporary to the Kansas City bodies be canceled." The report was adopted, thus ending the brief history of Zerbal Lodge of Perfection.

During the period of 1886 through 1888, Cerneauism was in a growth mode and was making inroad in the Kansas City area. In 1807, Joseph Cerneau established a body under the title, " Sovereign Grand Consistory of the United States of America, its Territories and Dependencies" in New York and claimed the right to organize and charter bodies as the "Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite."  The "History of the Supreme Council" indicates that Cerneau bodies were formed in Kansas City - it is unclear whether it was Kansas City, Missouri or in Kansas City, Kansas - with some forty members in 1887. Sovereign Grand Commander Pike had long before declared the Cerneau "Sovereign Grand Consistory" clandestine and members of bodies subordinate to that organization were not recognized as Scottish Rite Masons by the Supreme Council. The presence and activity of the "Cerneau Scottish Rite" caused confusion among the Craft. It seems clear in that the combination of the failure of Zerbal Lodge of Perfection and the rise of Cerneauism in the area was a matter of significant concern to the Supreme Council and to the Sovereign Grand Commander.

During this period, a number of Scottish Rite Masons had moved to Kansas City to live. they were principally from Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Those Brethren, along with the former members of Zerbal Lodge, sought the establishment of new Bodies of Scottish Rite in Kansas City. Again, the "Progress article" reports that "The effort to that end was not undertaken by any resuscitation of Zerbal Lodge. That seemed a hopeless undertaking. In March, 1887, S.G.I.G. Collins wrote Pike to inform him of the efforts to establish a new Lodge of Perfection.

The certificate constituting Adoniram Lodge of Perfection #2 at Kansas City was issued November 14, 1887. The first meeting of that Lodge was held at the Nelson building. Adoniram Lodge got off to a rocky start.

According to a story in the October - November 1930 issue of the Scottish Rite Progress "the hall was small and sadly in need of repairs, which with meager furnishings and the rent, $750 a year, strained the resources of the young body and the officers struggle with many difficulties." The Areiopagus Chapter of Rose Croix was chartered June 1, 1888; the DeMolai Council of Knights Kadosh on January 15, 1890 and the Consistory of Western Missouri dates back to September 24, 1890.

The story in the Progress continues, "Brother Thomas Morrow was successively chosen as Venerable Master of the Lodge, Wise Master of the Chapter, second officer in the Council and head of the Consistory in the critical years following the organization of each of the bodies. He was our first great ritualist." What he and his co-workers went through in the stuffy little hall at 720 Main Street none of us who came after can well realize.
 
They built fires, swept out the hall, laid out the scanty paraphernalia, worked over the degrees, and by the hardest kind of physical and mental work advanced the Rite." In December 1890 the Bodies made a great advance by moving to more spacious quarters at 1330 Grand Ave. In these quarters was held the first reunion. 

On May 1892 they relocated in the New Ridge Building at Ninth and Walnut where the third and part of the fourth floor was "fitted up, all too handsomely it may be said for their finances, but in such away to permit of ritualistic and dramatic effects such as are not now attempted anywhere. The Ridge building itself was owned by a noted brother, Dr. Isaac M. Ridge, 32°.
 
Eventually the bodies under the leadership of the splendid band of Masonic zealots achieved a wonderful measure of success."
The next move for the growing bodies was a major step forward for the Scottish Rite in Kansas City.  The old Dundee Methodist Church property at 15th & Troost was purchased Feb. 17, 1903 and soon after, the construction began on the Temple.
The Scottish Rite Progress story states "there were delays and many discouragements to overcome in raising money for this new Temple and in keeping its construction going on. The flood of 1903 paralyzed the business of the city and subscriptions to the temple failed to materialize. No words can describe the happy joy of the workers when the day finally came and the first convocation in the new temple was held with a big class, a host of visitors, and a sense of home at last."

The big 'Temple Dedication Class' raised over $450 to buy the beautiful stained glass windows which have decorated our temples from that day until now. We have all admired them through the years and they now reside in the dining room for all to see.
On April 3, 1920 a committee was formed to investigate the possibilities of constructing an even greater edifice for the Rite. In October of 1928 the building committee finished with their plans and the members voted to begin construction immediately at 1330 Linwood for the Temple.

Construction:
The Kansas City Scottish Rite Facility, including most of the interior, is of classic Greek design of the Ionic Order. The architecture of the structure was inspired by the ancient mausoleum at Halicarnassus in Caria (now part of the Republic of Turkey). That temple was constructed to house the mortal remains of Mausolus by his widow Artemesia. Most of the decoration of the main cornice was duplicated; the major change being that the figures of the warriors which adorned the original have been replaced by double eagles.

The building contains a total of 32 columns, ten on each side and twelve across the front. Two large, 10' x 4' sculptured Sphinxes dominate the front of the building. These objects of art are carved in two pieces, being joined back of the hood. Two tripod Grecian urns are mounted above and behind the Sphinxes sculpted by Kansas City sculptor, Jørgen Christian Dreyer. All doors and windows have ornamental grilles on the outside.

The building has 114,303 square feet of floor space with an auditorium which measures 102' x 112' and seats 1,400 people. The entrance vestibules are decorated with bronze grille work set in Pavonazzo marble. Ceilings have designs in vivid Blue, Red, Black, and Gold.

The main foyer floor is comprised of Kasota Belguim, Tennessee and Verde antique marble. There are three large bronze Scottish Rite emblems embedded in the floor. The foyer walls are made of Silverdale stone. The foyer ceiling beams are raised grain oak, stained and antiqued with designs in Blue, Black, and Gold. Large bronze chandeliers and torchiers provide lighting. Leather doors and door heads complete the setting.

The Lounge, Library and Conference Room are all paneled in walnut and embellished with hand carved insignia. Office areas are trimmed in mahogany. The dining room, which seats 600, has three large stained glass panels which depict liturgy of the Rite. Border and ornaments are reproductions of true Gothic Scroll work designed by monks of the Cathedral building era.
 
A grand celebration was held on November 4, 1928 with the ground breaking ceremonies taking place. It was a very joyous occasion with bands playing, a huge crowd in attendance and dignitaries present from many Masonic bodies. We reprint again from the Progress what took place next. "By the time the voices of the speakers and the singers had died away and the audience scattered, the workmen were already at the task of building the superstructure. There was something about the building of the Scottish Rite Temple, from the very start, that struck the interest and the imagination of the workmen. Perhaps, it was the careful planning the organization had done.
Maybe it was the traditions of the Order, an organization originating among the cathedral builders of the past who were really masters of their trades. Whatever the source, a wonderful spirit developed among the workmen on the temple. Contractors seemed to take pride in furnishing the best of materials and the workmen took pride in giving the best of their skill." The new Temple was dedicated with suitable ceremonies on December 2, 1930.

Unfortunately, shortly after this magnificent structure was completed, darker days befell the Scottish Rite. the great depression and the consequent unpaid pledges forced the loss of the building in 1939. In 1940 the organization, through the cooperation of Ivanhoe Temple moved to their building at Linwood & Park for a period of 18 years.
 
 
Through valiant efforts of all the members the Rite was again on the way back to brighter times. The membership bought a new home in 1958 at 3201 Flora. This was the former location of Temple B'Nai Jehudah. After extensive remodeling and repairing this beautiful structure it served as our handsome home until its sale to Model Cities in 1971.

The Scottish Rite has had several homes in its long and glorious history in Kansas City. Throughout our lifetime many brethren have been responsible for our continuing growth and our return to occupy for a second time our current temple at 1330 E. Linwood.
There have been countless hours spent by building committees, by the officers and staff, not only on those old homes of our organization, but more importantly to us, on the rebuilding program of our present building. To these great leaders we all owe a debt of gratitude.
Throughout our lifetime many brethren have been responsible for our continuing growth. There have been countless hours spent by building committees, by the officers and staff, not only on those old homes of our organization, but more importantly to us, on the rebuilding program of our present building. To these great leaders we all owe a debt of gratitude.
 
Source: Valley of Kansas City Scottish Rite record; ScottishRite.org, Supreme Council SMJ website.