Scottish Rite Temple
Santa Fe, NM, United States

Isaac Hamilton Rapp, himself a Mason, was originally commissioned to build the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple in Santa Fe, but when his designs were rejected the firm of Hunt and Burns was brought in. Their design for the 4,087 Sq Meters (44,000 Sq. Ft.) building was modeled on the Alhambra in Spain. Its crenelated tower features a large monumental entrance in the form of a horseshoe arch. Among the spaces in the multistory building surrounding a large central courtyard are a commercial kitchen (approximately 3000 sq ft), a ballroom, library, and residential space. 

It's pink color, controversial at the time, is evocative of the hues common in Marrakech. One of the most important spaces and frequently commented on spaces is a theater with a capacity of approximately 400. As Khristaan D. Villela points out in the article "More Orientalism in Santa Fe," the theater is a feature of all Scottish Rite Temples, as it is used in the fraternity's ceremonies.

References to Islamic art and architecture can be found in the theater at Santa Fe's Scottish Rite building. The proscenium is flanked by modeled stucco star designs common in Islamic decoration. And similar forms cover the pipe organ. But perhaps the most impressive aspect of the theater is the 20-by-30-foot front curtain drop, with a scene of Granada as viewed from the Alhambra. At the right is the Islamic city, while at left we can see the tent-city headquarters of the troops of Ferdinand and Isabella. Writing in The New Mexican on Nov. 20, 1912, Nan O'Neill discussed the drop curtain and how it depicted the original Santa Fe in Granada, a town connected to the Spanish discovery and conquest of the New World, and eventually to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was to Santa Fe, Granada, that Columbus came to tell the Spanish monarchs of his discoveries in America. In addition to the Granada scene, the theater also has almost 100 different hanging drops, with scenes used in the Scottish Rite degrees, from forest scenes to Egyptian temples and the Palace of Darius at Persepolis, from the Temple of Solomon to Gothic cathedral interiors.

Gen. Harper Cunningham, a well-known legislator and judge in Oklahoma and key figure in the spread of freemasonry in the West who played a large role in the construction of the Temple in Santa Fe, is buried in the temple under the stairs to the monumental entrance.Population shifts in New Mexico meant led the Masons to try and sell the building. After these efforts were unsuccessful for a couple years, in October 2014 the group announced a decision to run the building as an event center. 

--Michael A. Toler, AKDC@MIT April 2014


Constable, Anne. "Historic Scottish Rite Temple Removed from the Real Estate Market." The Santa Fe New Mexican. N.p., 7 Oct. 2014. Web. 11 Oct. 2014.

Grimm, Julie Ann. "Scottish Rite center could be put up for sale." Santa Fe New Mexican. March 5, 2013. Accessed may 15, 2014.

Harris, Richard. The National Trust guide--Santa Fe: America's guide for architecture and history travelers. Washington, D.C.: Preservation Press; New York: Wiley, 1997.

Save the Santa Fe Scottish Rite Temple Facebook Community. "About." n.d. started April 19, 2013. Accessed June 21, 2014.

Sotheby's International Realty. "463 Paseo de Peralta." Accessed July 19, 2008.

Villela, Khristaan D. "More Orientalism in Santa Fe." Santa Few New Mexican, October 4, 2013. Accessed May 15, 2014.

Villela, Khristaan D. "Orientalism in Santa Fe." Santa Few New Mexican, September 20, 2013. Accessed May 15, 2014.

463 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM, United States
Images & Videos
Associated Names
1912 construction
Style Periods
Structure 4,087 Sq Meters (44,000 Sq. Ft.) on .81 hectares (2 acres)
Variant Names
Scottish Rite Lodge of Perfection
Scottish Rite Cathedral
Building Usages