The History of the Valley of Pasadena
The City of Pasadena, until 1875, was known as “Indiana Colony.” It had been purchased by group of wealthy Eastern and Central States investors. Even before the town was chartered in 1901, Pasadena Lodge No. 272 was granted its Charter on October 16, 1884. In the mid 1880s a group of Scottish Rite Masons petitioned the Grand Consistory of California for a Lodge of Perfection. In December, 1895, Temple Lodge of Perfection No. 7 was constituted and in a few weeks it claimed 49 members. On March 26, 1896, Temple Chapter of Rose Croix No. 4 was instituted and just six weeks later, the Temple Council of Kadosh No. 4. Pasadena Consistory No. 4 was formed in 1898.
From 1895 to 1905 the Rite shared the third floor of the Stanton Building on Raymond and Colorado Boulevard with Corona Lodge No. 324. In 1905 the Bodies moved into a new Temple at 77 North Fair Oaks Avenue, which was home for the next 20 years. As the membership grew it again became necessary to construct a new Cathedral at 150 No. Madison Avenue. It was ready for occupancy and dedicated in early 1925, complete with auditorium, stage and 90 scenery drops.
By 1930 the membership numbered 1,375. After the decline experienced during the Great Depression membership again began to climb. On December 11, 1945 the bodies celebrated their Fiftieth Anniversary with 1,706 members and by the end of 1950 they listed 2,659 members. By the Valley’s 60th Birthday in 1955 the membership had doubled in one decade to 3,450. (2)
The Pasadena Bodies may be best known for their activities in the performing arts with the creation of Scottish Rite choral and drama groups and a Music Guild. As evidence of the popularity of the Scottish Rite productions, in 1956 “The Last Supper” was given to large turnouts at various churches with a total attendance of about 2,000. The traveling Masonic play “Greater Love Hath No Man” presented its 186th performance in its 20th year at Blue Lodges throughout the area. In its first four years the Scottish Rite Speakers Bureau they have addressed approximately 4,000 persons.
In 1957 the first major remodeling project got under way since the building was constructed in 1925. In 1959 authorization was obtained to purchase property for expansion. The membership had now grown to nearly 4,000. In 1961 a new entrance and vestibule was constructed leading from the North parking lot directly into the banquet hall. It followed an Egyptian motif with terrazzo floor and appropriate furnishings. During November the entire building was repainted. New sound equipment was installed in Cobb Auditorium consisting of console, amplifiers and racks. A new Scottish Rite Museum was also authorized. (1) Again in November 1964 extensive remodeling of 40 year old Cobb Auditorium was authorized including electrical and sound improvements, extended stage, new lighting and 454 new permanent seats. In 1969 an architect was employed to draw plans to modernize certain areas of the main floor and basement.
The Diamond Anniversary Year, 1970, started off with the first joint election of Officers. The Valley Forge Freedom Foundation of America awarded the George Washington Honor Medal Award in “Community Program Category” for 1969. This award is for the work done by “The Living Constitution” players and is the first time this singular award had been presented to a Scottish Rite Body. During the summer the Secretary’s office and the rest rooms were completely remodeled. A new organ console replaced the one that had been in use for 50 years.
In October, 1969, for the second time In 75 years (first in 1927) the Pasadena Degree Team, by special dispensation, exemplified the Northern Jurisdiction version of the Twentieth Degree. (2)
Click here to see a slide show of some older pictures of the Cathedral throughout the years.
My thanks to all those, names and nameless, who helped me amass the materials used in compiling this history of the Orient of California. – Ill:. Robert D. Haas, 33°
1. California First Century of Scottish Rite Masonry p. 149 ff. Pasadena Bodies
2. Douglas Westin 32°, 75 Year History of Pasadena Bodies 1971
3. Pasadena Scottish Rite 100th Anniversary brochure 1995