Home to some surprises, and once the Oklahoma Legislature
Some are hidden in plain sight, while others require a drive. Either way, this summer, we’re going on trips all across Oklahoma, and taking you along with us. This is about exploring the unknown and finding the gems. We’re calling it Oklahoma Revealed. Today, we start in Guthrie, the home of the Scottish Rite Masonic Center…
The music echoes through the expansive auditorium. But don’t think about how or why there is an organ in the middle of Oklahoma.
“Well, welcome to Oklahoma’s most beautiful building. It’s been called that by many people”
Robert Davis with the Guthrie Scottish Rite is showing me around.
“One of two concert organs that the Kimball Organ Company ever manufactured. It’s listed in the Encyclopedia of Historic Organs of America. The Kimball Company was a theater organ company and in 1924, we commissioned the Kimball Company to build this organ. And it has 5,373 pipes.”
The Masonic Center is great at being small, even though it isn’t. Rising out from rows of houses just off I-35 in Guthrie, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’re not going to find it. Walking up the 15 or 20 stairs to the building, you might figure on seeing your standard well-built, nicely decorated interior. But the first door you open on the tour re-arranges those expectations.
“And so when they walk out to the atrium, that first lobby, or big hall, everybody’s head goes up and their mouth drops open.”
The atrium. The grandeur of the atrium. A ceiling you wish you could touch, and a spotless limestone floor, pillars that look like they came from ancient Greece. You could stop there and call it a day. But quality and quantity get attention here.
“The thing that the Guthrie temple is most noted for is just the number of the artistic rooms that were included in the complex. They’re all very distinctive and so it is very compelling just to spend a little time in each room and enjoy the beauty and the artistic ability that went into creating them.”
And it’s true. Every room has a different feel. There’s one that takes you to Europe in the 17th or 18th century, covered with ostentatious chandeliers, fine rugs, and wrapped in wood panels. Or another.
“It’s done in an Egyptian motif. We actually went over and visited the tombs in Egypt and traced a number of the hieroglyphics off the tomb walls. And so the hieroglyphics are accurate and they tell a story.”
The Masonic Center slowly unfolds as you walk through. One room leads to another, and to another, and another. A humble structure reveals itself as a storytelling maze. The immersion is immediate when you walk into a room. Take the Egyptian one, with its hieroglyphics. There’s also the color schemes, wood carved eagles that look over, even the columns have a different style. All of this wrapped in a building with history, beauty, and stunning moments.
“I’ll tell you, it’s a jewel on the prairie, it really is.”
There is one thing the Masonic Center does not have: air conditioning. So if you’re looking to take a tour they recommend taking it soon, or waiting until after the summer. Information on our website: kosu.org. And we’ll take trips to places all this summer. Where should we visit? Plenty of ways to let us know: @BenAllenKOSU, facebook.com/KOSURadio, on our website, kosu.org, or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. And keep listening for Oklahoma Revealed, all summer on KOSU.