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History of the New Castle Scottish Rite Cathedral
The New Castle Scottish Rite Cathedral- If you have photos, facts, or interesting stories about the Cathedral, please contact the Valley office. We would very much like to include them on this site. Additionally, if you have confirmed dates for any of the following pictures or post cards, please email the webmaster to let us know!
Other Masonic organizations that share the Cathedral with us are:
More than eighty years ago... six, 16-ton, 32 feet high pillars were moved up to the North Hill of New Castle in an effort paralleling the construction of the pyramids.
Click here to read a booklet about the Scottish Rite Cathedral in New Castle, PA.
The most prominent building in the district, the Scottish Rite Cathedral rises like a mighty fortress above downtown, and can be seen for miles.
Oddly enough, its blank concrete back faces the city; the ornate facade is turned the other way.
It was once explained that plans called for the cathedral to be built facing town, but the hill wouldn’t support the massive bulk of its facade.
So the architect had to turn it around.
The large Neo-classic Scottish Rite Cathedral was built in 1925 by a Milwaukee firm from plans drawn by architect R.G. Schmidt, also of Milwaukee, at a cost of $1.7 million. The building was first used in November of 1926. The original usage of the Cathedral was as a meeting place for Masonic groups.
In addition to the Mason’s lodge rooms, the building contains other office space, a grand ballroom features glistening maple floors for dancing (most local proms are held here), a banquet room and an auditorium / theater.
The Cathedral was originally the largest facility between New York and Chicago, with the exterior dimensions being 244 feet wide by 181 feet deep, 180 feet high at the back of the building.
The stage at the Cathedral, one of the largest in the Unites States, is 82 feet wide, 46 feet deep, and 65 feet high.
The auditorium seats 2,834 total: 1st floor - 918, 1st balcony - 1,026, and 2nd balcony - 890.
There is not a bad seat in the house and the acoustics are wonderful.
Whether you are on the first floor center section or the 2nd balcony, the sound is the same.
The auditorium / concert hall is used for recitals, regional ballets, symphonies, concerts, and choruses.
The facility's primary rental comes from wedding receptions.
The facility has dishes and silverware for 1,800 and a huge dining hall.
The magnificent lobby is often used for receptions, as is the main dining room and west and east dining rooms.
Weekly bingo games in the dining area are another primary use of the Cathedral.
During the Depression, the Masons were unable to pay taxes, and the building was lost to the county. In 1940, the Cathedral Foundation was formed by the Masons, who pooled funds and acquired the building.
In 1926, George Greer donated a M.P. Möller organ to the cathedral.
Last modified: 3/13/2015
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