About Us - Long Beach Valley - 1924
Wilmore City, developed in 1881, went bankrupt and was renamed Long Beach in 1888. Long Beach Masonic Lodge No. 327 was established in 1896. It was not until 1924 that six Scottish Rite Masons decided to canvass Masons residing in the community to determine the feasibility of forming a Lodge of Perfection and Chapter of Rose Croix in Long Beach. As a result, one hundred Masons met and agreed to seek Letters Temporary which were issued in September, 1924. The first meeting of the two Bodies was held at the Long beach Masonic Temple located at 230 Pine Avenue. The membership made rapid gains. During the year 1926, 499 candidates received the degrees. The Long Beach Bodies have since shown consistent gains from about 5,000 members, In 1960 with a peak of just under 7,000 in 1980. In the past two decades membership has dropped to about 3,500, not unlike other Valleys throughout the state and country. The Long Beach Scottish Rite Cathedral Association was authorized to purchase a lot on the southwest corner of Ninth Street and Elm Avenue as the site for a new Cathedral. The cornerstone ceremony was conducted by Grand Lodge on March 1, 1926 and the building was dedicated in September. As the building designs were developed, special attention was given to the peculiar needs of the Rite. The ritualistic work was uppermost in the minds of the planners. (1) The building was completed in August 1926 at the cost of five hundred thousand dollars, including original furnishings and equipment. The fully air conditioned Long Beach Scottish Rite Cathedral contains forty thousand eight hundred square feet of floor space, a new fifty thousand dollar pipe organ and portable console, twenty-seven stage sets and ninety-seven drops valued at three hundred fifty thousand dollars, stage lighting, closed circuit television and sound system in the Sanctuary. This landmark is a place for higher Masonic learning and attracts many instructors. The first floor of the commodious building houses the general and executive offices, a Ladies Lounge, a dining room with seating for 350, plus storage and mail rooms. The second floor auditorium seats 390 and the balcony has an additional 400 seats. The stage proscenium is 60 feet wide and the well equipped stage is 30 foot in depth. The scenery loft accommodates 90 curtain drops. The classroom which accommodates 150, the green room and the dressing room are located on the second floor. The Cathedral has no other tenants, but it did house the executive offices of the Supreme Grand Inspector General, Ill:. H. Douglas Lemons 33 o and the California Scottish Rite Foundation, also on the second floor. The Long Beach Childhood Language Disorders Clinic, the Library, Board of Directors' room and robing room with its 1000 costumes for all 29 degrees, are located on the third floor. The Clinic has treated nearly 2,400 children since it opened on September 15, 1978. It treats an average of 120 children annually and has a waiting list of about 40. The Clinic staff consists of a full-time Director and one clinician, both of whom work with the children. The Long Beach Bodies confer all 29 degrees, usually in three classes each year. They have nine Family or Ladies' Nights with appropriate entertainment, one each month, October through June. With the exception of degrees, the Cathedral is dark in the months of July, August and September. The Long Beach Scottish Rite jointly sponsors, with Long Beach Lodge No. 327, an annual Christmas party for underprivileged children. (2) Bibliography Sources 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. 283 ff. Long Beach Bodies 2. John Wallace, Secretary - David B. Slayton 33 o , Personal Representative.
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