The “Grand Encampment” scene from a Scottish Rite play was re-enacted by members of the Santa Fe chapter for photographer Jo Whaley. Visible above the stage is the 1912 painting of Spain’s Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand accepting the surrender of the Moorish king Muhammad XII in 1492. There was a 10-year siege to capture the Alhambra castle, whose architecture was the inspiration for the Santa Fe’s Scottish Rite temple. (SOURCE: Museum Of New Mexico Press)
(by Megan Bennett / Journal North Reporter, Published: Friday, June 22nd, 2018, Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal)
Painted on a canvas above the stage at the Santa Fe Scottish Rite Temple is a depiction of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain accepting the 1492 surrender of Moorish ruler Muhammad XII. For 10 years, the two sides had battled over what’s now the Spanish province of Granada, home of the famous Alhambra castle.
Earlier this month, sitting in the front row of the strikingly pink Santa Fe building’s theater, 33rd-degree Santa Fe Scottish Rite mason Dan Irick pointed out a small tent city painted in the Alhambra’s shadow. It was where Spanish armies camped while trying to seize the castle.
That city was later named – and remains today – Santa Fe.
So it’s fitting that more than a century ago, when Santa Fe Scottish Rite, part of the worldwide Freemasonry fraternity, was going back and forth on architectural inspiration for their massive new building, the group eventually requested a design based on the Alhambra – “to architecturally connect Santa Fe, New Mexico, to its colonial heritage in old Spain,” said Irick.
The Moorish Revival temple, built in 1912, and the fraternal society that uses it are now the subject of a book from Museum of New Mexico Press. “The Santa Fe Scottish Rite Temple: Freemasonry, Architecture and Theatre” launches this weekend with a book-signing, a lecture and demonstrations at the temple.
“They were a centerpiece of the community; sort of a symbol of progress,” New Mexico state historian and co-author Rick Hendricks said about masonic temples, as Freemasonry grew in popularity during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Santa Fe temple was built and is still used as a place for members to put on their “morality plays” – dramas specific to Masonic degrees that represent life lessons – twice a year for new members.
Just a few years ago…