THE HISTORY OF THE SHREVEPORT SCOTTISH RITE VALLEY

ON MARCH 6, 1910, A GROUP OF SCOTTISH RITE MASONS MET IN THE MASONIC TEMPLE ON THE CORNER OF MARKET AND TRAVIS STREETS FOR THE PURPOSE OF PETITIONING “LETTERS TEMPORARY” FOR A LODGE OF PERFECTION IN SHREVEPORT.  THIS GROUP OF 32°MASONS CONSISTED OF L. E. THOMAS, V. L. McCARTY, S. J. B. WHITED, A. T. KAHN, MARX M. LEVY, A. W. CHEESMAN, KCCH, E. R. BERNSTEIN, H. H. BAIN, H. I. HARDY, J. J. LYONS AND P. B. STEDMAN.  THE NAME “L. C. ALLEN LODGE OF PERFECTION” WAS ADOPTED.  PERMISSION FOR THE FORMATION OF THE LODGE OF PERFECTION WAS GRANTED BY ILLUSTRIOUS BROTHER CHARLES F. BUCK, SOVEREIGN GRAND INSPECTOR GENERAL ON DECEMBER 29, 1911.             IT IS NOTED THAT THE NAMESAKE FOR THE LODGE OF PERFECTION, MOST WORSHIPFUL (M:W:) L. C. ALLEN WAS ELECTED THE MOST WORSHIPFUL GRAND MASTER OF THE GRAND LODGE OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA ON FEBRUARY 7, 1906.  FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT HIS LIFE AND THE MANY CONTRIBUTIONS HE MADE TO MASONRY, PLEASE REFER TO THE RELATED LINKS SECTION OF OUR MENU.           THE FOLLOWING OFFICERS WERE ELECTED WHO SERVED AS THE FIRST OFFICIAL FAMILY OF THE L. C. ALLEN LODGE OF PERFECTION:  E. R. BERNSTEIN, 32°, VENERABLE MASTER; L. E. THOMAS, 32°, SENIOR WARDEN; T. B. CHASE, 32°, JUNIOR WARDEN; DAVID B. SAMUEL, 32°, SECRETARY; A. T. KAHN, 32°, TREASURER; A. W. CHEESMAN, 32°, KCCH, ALMONER; E. KIRBY SMITH, 32°, ORATOR; W. H. BOOTH, 32°, MASTER OF CEREMONIES.       ON JUNE 14, 1912, THE EUREKA CHAPTER OF ROSE CROIX WAS INSTITUTED WITH THE FOLLOWING 32° OFFICERS: W. H. BOOTH, WISE MASTER; H. H. BAIN, SENIOR WARDEN; J. J. LYON, JUNIOR WARDEN; E. KIRBY SMITH, ORATOR; A. W. CHEESMAN, KCCH, ALMONER; A. T. KAHN, TREASURER; F. H. SHEER, EXPERT; D. B. SAMUEL, RECORDER.     THE CADDO PRECEPTORY OF KNIGHTS KADOSH WAS INSTITUTED ON NOVEMBER 21, 1912, WITH THE FOLLOWING 32° OFFICERS: H. S. WESTON, PRECEPTOR; H. A. PETERMAN, FIRST SUB-PRECEPTOR; M. M. LEVY, SECOND SUB-PRECEPTOR; DAVID B. SAMUEL, RECORDER; A. T. KAHN, TREASURER; J. H. BARTLETT, CHANCELLOR; H. H. BAIN, ORATOR.THE SHREVEPORT CONSISTORY WAS ALSO INSTITUTED ON NOVEMBER 21, 1912.  THE 32° OFFICERS WERE A. W. CHEESMAN, KCCH, MASTER OF KADOSH AND ALMONER; MICHAEL BERNSTEIN, PRIOR; W. H. LITTLEJOHN, PRECEPTOR; H. H. BAIN, CHANCELLOR; DAVID B. SAMUEL, REGISTRAR; A. T. KAHN, TREASURER; E. R. BERSTEIN, MINISTER OF STATE.            OUR FIRST REUNION WAS HELD ON DECEMBER 29, 1911, AND THE SECOND ON MARCH 28, 1912.  THE DEGREES FROM THE FOURTH THROUGH THE FOURTEENTH WERE CONFERRED AT THESE TWO REUNIONS.  THE THIRD REUNION WAS HELD ON JUNE 13 AND 14, 1912, AND DEGREES THROUGH THE EIGHTEENTH WERE CONFERRED.          THE FOURTH REUNION WAS HELD ON NOVEMBER 20, 21, AND 22, 1912, AND THE FIFTH ON APRIL 16, 17, AND 18, 1913.  THE DEGREES FROM THE FOURTH THROUGH THE THIRTY-SECOND WERE CONFERRED AT BOTH OF THESE REUNIONS.           ON AUGUST 11, 1959, THE NAMES OF L. C. ALLEN LODGE OF PERFECTION, EUREKA CHAPTER OF ROSE CROIX AND CADDO COUNCIL KNIGHTS OF KADOSH WERE CHANGED TO SHREVEPORT LODGE OF PERFECTION, SHREVEPORT CHAPTER OF ROSE CROIX AND SHREVEPORT COUNCIL OF KADOSH.           OUR EARLIEST MEETINGS WERE HELD AT THE MASONIC TEMPLE ON THE CORNER OF MARKET AND TRAVIS STREETS IN SHREVEPORT.  PLANS WERE SOON PUT INTO MOTION TO CONSTRUCT A NEW SCOTTISH RITE CATHEDRAL.  ON MAY 5, 1912, A COMMITTEE CONSISTING OF W. H. BOOTH, H. H. BAIN AND E.R. BERSTEIN WAS CHARGED WITH FINDING A SUITABLE LOCATION TO CONSTRUCT THE NEW BUILDING.   ON SEPTEMBER 16, 1913, THEY RECOMMENDED AND WERE AUTHORIZED TO PURCHASE THE SITE AT THE CORNER OF COTTON STREET AND COMMON STREET IN SHREVEPORT FOR A SUM OF $17,000.00.  THE CORNERSTONE FOR THIS NEW CATHEDRAL WAS SET ON OCTOBER 28, 1915, BY B. B. PURSER, ACTING GRAND MASTER.  THE PUBLIC ADDRESS WAS GIVEN BY ILLUSTRIOUS BROTHER CHARLES F. BUCK, SOVEREIGN GRAND INSPECTOR GENERAL.  AN INTERESTING FACT IS THAT THE BUILDING’S CORNERSTONE IS SET IN THE NORTHWEST CORNER, INSTEAD OF THE TRADITIONAL NORTHEAST CORNER, REPORTEDLY FOR GREATER VISIBILITY BY THE TRAVELING PUBLIC.  CONSTRUCTION WAS BY THE STEWART-McGHEE FIRM OF LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS.      THE CATHEDRAL WAS COMPLETED ON JULY 1, 1917.  THE GRAND OPENING CEREMONY WAS HELD ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1917, AMID GREAT FANFARE AND LOCAL INTEREST.  AS PART OF THE DEDICATION CEREMONIES, THE MASONS AND THEIR WIVES WERE TREATED TO TWO ORGAN RECITALS, ONE AT 3:30 PM AND THE OTHER AT 8:00 PM.  THE GUEST ORGANIST WAS JOHN ALLEN RICHARDSON, ORGANIST AND CHOIRMASTER OF THE ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS.    FOLLOWING THE SECOND RECITAL, A DANCE WAS HELD WITH MUSIC PROVIDED BY THE EL KARUBAH BAND AND ORCHESTRA.        EDWARD F. NEILD, A MEMBER OF THE SHREVEPORT SCOTTISH RITE, WAS THE ARCHITECT OF THE SCOTTISH RITE CATHEDRAL.  AMONG MR. NEILD’S  MANY OTHER NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS WERE HIS ARCHITECTURAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE RENOVATION OF OUR NATION’S CAPITAL IN WASHINGTON, D.C., THE WHITE HOUSE, AND THE TRUMAN MEMORIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM IN INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI.    IN ADDITION, HE IS CREDITED WITH THE DESIGN OF THE SHRINER’S HOSPITAL FOR CRIPPLED CHILDREN, ALSO IN SHREVEPORT AND THE FIRST OF ITS KIND IN THE NORTH AMERICA.   THE SHREVEPORT SCOTTISH RITE CATHEDRAL IS ONE OF THE MOST HISTORIC AND BEAUTIFUL BUILDINGS IN OUR AREA.  IT INCLUDES A THREE LEVEL AUDITORIUM WITH A SEATING CAPACITY OF FIVE HUNDRED, A WARDROBE ROOM, A MARBLE LOBBY, A PAIR OF MATCHING MARBLE STAIRCASES, A KITCHEN, A BANQUET HALL, A MASONIC LIBRARY, NUMEROUS OFFICES, A DEMOLAY ROOM, A BASEMENT AND A SECTION WHERE CHILDREN RECEIVE HELP THROUGH OUR SPEECH AND LANGUAGE CLINIC CHARITY.  THE BUILDING MEASURES 133’ 1” BY 110’ 5”.  AMAZINGLY, THE FINAL COST TO CONSTRUCT THE BUILDING WAS $186,477.28.  MANY OF THE ORIGINAL BUILDING FURNISHINGS ARE STILL IN USE TODAY, INCLUDING THE QUEEN ANNE STYLE FURNITURE AND THE CEILING FANS.  THE LIGHTING FIXTURES FOR THE BUILDING WERE PURCHASED FROM THE ALBERT SECHRIST MANUFACTURING COMPANY OF DENVER, COLORADO, IN APRIL, 1917, FOR A COST OF $4000.00.  THE ORIGINAL 165 LIGHTING FIXTURES ARE STILL IN USE AT THE PRESENT TIME.THE ORIGINAL NINETY-TWO HAND-PAINTED DROPS FOR THE AUDITORIUM’S STAGE ARE STILL USED TODAY DURING OUR SPRING AND FALL REUNIONS, AS WELL AS OTHER MEETINGS AND FUNCTIONS HELD IN THE AUDITORIUM.  EACH DROP WAS METICULOUSLY HAND-PAINTED TO DEPICT BACKGROUND SCENERY SUITABLE FOR USE IN THE DEGREE WORK.  THE COSTUMES USED DURING THE DEGREE WORK ARE ALSO ORIGINALS.  BOTH THE COSTUMES AND THE DROPS ARE REMINISCENT OF THE GRANDEUR ONE WOULD EXPECT SEE AT A BROADWAY PLAY DURING THE 1920’s ERA. THE PILCHER AND SONS PIPE ORGAN, WHICH ALSO GRACES THE AUDITORIUM WITH ITS GRAND DISPLAY OF ORGAN PIPES, IS STILL USED ON OCCASION TODAY.  IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT AN IDENTICAL SECOND ORGAN CONSOLE WAS INSTALLED IN A SEPARATE ROOM UPSTAIRS.  THIS SECOND CONSOLE WAS PLAYED ON QUEUE BY LADY ORGANISTS DURING THE EARLY REUNIONS.   APPARENTLY, THERE WAS NO SCOTTISH RITE BROTHER CAPABLE OF PERFORMING THE MUSICAL PARTS THAT ACCOMPANY THE DEGREE WORK.  THE ORGAN’S SERIAL NUMBER IS 740 AND IT WAS PURCHASED IN 1917 FOR A COST OF $7500.00.  FROM ITS INCEPTION, THE INTENT WAS TO CONSTRUCT THE ORGAN IN TWO PHASES.  THE SECOND PHASE, WHICH RESULTED IN A LARGE EXPANSION OF THE SYSTEM OF PIPES, WAS COMPLETED IN THE SPRING OF 1921 FOR AN ADDITIONAL COST OF $12,000.00.   IN THE EARLY YEARS, THE LADY ORGANIST WAS MRS. MARY KELSO BOOTH, WIFE OF WILLIAM H. BOOTH, 32°.  MASONICALLY AND OTHERWISE, W. H. BOOTH WAS VERY ACTIVE IN SHREVEPORT.  AS STATED ABOVE, HE SERVED AS ONE OF THREE MEN ON THE COMMITTEE TO LOCATE A SITE TO BUILD THE CATHEDRAL.  HE ACCEPTED THE POSITION OF VICE PRESIDENT OF THE SCOTTISH RITE CATHEDRAL COMPANY WHEN IT WAS FORMED ON MARCH 16, 1914.  HE WAS THE FIRST WISE MASTER OF THE EUREKA CHAPTER OF ROSE CROIX.  IN 1917, HE WAS THE VENERABLE MASTER OF THE L. C. ALLEN LODGE OF PERFECTION.  HE SERVED SHREVEPORT AS PRESIDENT OF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND IN 1920 AS PRESIDENT OF THE ROTARY CLUB.  AS A TRIBUTE TO THE MANY CONTRIBUTIONS HE MADE TO MASONRY IN THE SHREVEPORT AREA, W. H. BOOTH LODGE NO. 380 IN SOUTH SHREVEPORT WAS NAMED IN HIS HONOR. AN INTERESTING MODIFICATION TO SEE DURING A TOUR OF THE BUILDING IS THE ORIGINAL WALK-IN ICE BOX IN THE KITCHEN.  IT HAS NOW BEEN CONVERTED INTO A MODERN REFRIGERATOR.  THE ONLY OTHER MAJOR MODIFICATIONS TO THE BUILDING HAVE BEEN THE INSTALLATION OF CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING AND HEATING AND THE INSTALLATION OF AN ELEVATOR IN THE 1960’s.    ON SEPTEMBER, 11, 1986, THE NOMINATION OF THE SHREVEPORT SCOTTISH RITE CATHEDRAL TO THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC BUILDINGS WAS APPROVED.     SEPTEMBER 24, 2005, BECAME ANOTHER LANDMARK DATE IN THE HISTORY OF OUR VALLEY WHEN THE ORDER OF THE KNIGHTS OF SAINT ANDREW CHAPTER WAS CHARTERED BY THE GUTHRIE, OKLAHOMA CHAPTER.  ON OCTOBER 11, 2005, KNIGHT COMMANDER KEITH A. DUNCAN AND KNIGHT STEWARD JAMES E. WINGATE TRAVELED FROM THE BATON ROUGE CHAPTER OF THE KNIGHTS OF SAINT ANDREW TO KNIGHT THE CHARTER MEMBERS, INSTALL THE PRINCIPLE OFFICERS AND GRANT US OUR CHARTER.  THE CHARTER MEMBERS WERE: JOHN F. AYER, 32°, KNIGHT COMMANDER; E. ALLEN KELLY, 32°, KNIGHT WARDEN, CAREY C. ALLEN, 32°, KNIGHT CAPTAIN; LARRY LABORDE, 32°, KNIGHT STEWARD; THOMAS P. DICKSON, 32°; MICHAEL W. BEELER, 32°; JAMES P. ALLEN, 32°; DONALD W. GRINDSTAFF, 32°; BYRON KEITH TINDELL, 32°; SHANE E. COOK, 32°; VIRGIL F. TRENADO, 32°, AND ANDREW H. STEVENSON, SR., 32°.      THROUGH THE YEARS, MANY DISTINGUISHED MEN HAVE BECOME MEMBERS OF THE SHREVEPORT SCOTTISH RITE.  ALTHOUGH THIS LIST IS NOT COMPREHENSIVE OF ALL, WE WOULD LIKE TO MENTION A FEW.ACCORDING TO THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE 1923 IMPERIAL COUNCIL SESSION OF THE SHRINERS OF NORTH AMERICA, THE ORIGINAL MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS FOR THE FIRST SHRINERS HOSPITAL WERE J. H. ROWLAND (PRESIDENT), L. E. THOMAS, H. S. WESTON, L. E. STOKES AND H. H. BAIN.  ALL FIVE OF THESE NOBLES WERE MEMBERS OF THE SHREVEPORT SCOTTISH RITE.  THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THESE MEN ARE ASTONISHING.  THANKS TO THEIR DEDICATION AND HARD WORK, THE WORLD’S FIRST SHRINERS HOSPITAL OPENED IN SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA IN 1922.  REMARKABLY, THEIR VISION WAS FULFILLED JUST FIVE YEARS AFTER THE OPENING OF THE SHREVEPORT SCOTTISH RITE CATHEDRAL.  THEIR FORESIGHT AND COMMITMENT TO THE PRINCIPLES OF FREEMASONRY CONTINUES TO THIS DAY TO ENHANCE AND TOUCH THE LIVES NEEDY CHILDREN FROM ALL ACROSS THE GLOBE.M:W: LEE EMMETT THOMAS WAS A CHARTER MEMBER OF THE L. C. ALLEN LODGE OF PERFECTION AND SERVED AS ITS FIRST SENIOR WARDEN.  HE SERVED AS GRAND MASTER OF THE GRAND LODGE OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA IN 1907 AND AGAIN IN 1909.   IN 1920, HE WAS NAMED DEPUTY BY THE SOVEREIGN GRAND INSPECTOR GENERAL.  HE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR ORGANIZING THE LAKE CHARLES SCOTTISH RITE BODIES WHICH WERE CHARTERED IN OCTOBER, 1923.  HE SERVED AS MAYOR OF SHREVEPORT FROM 1922 TO 1930.M:W: DEE ALPHONSO STRICKLAND JOINED THE SHREVEPORT SCOTTISH RITE IN 1932, BECAME A KCCH IN 1949 AND A 33° MASON IN 1953.  HE WAS NAMED DEPUTY IN DECEMBER, 1958, BY SOVEREIGN GRAND COMMANDER, JUDGE LUTHER A. SMITH.  IN OCTOBER 1959, HE WAS ELECTED AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE SUPREME COUNCIL AND BECAME SOVEREIGN GRAND INSPECTOR GENERAL.  HE SERVED AS GRAND MASTER OF THE GRAND LODGE OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA IN 1941.  M:W: ALFRED W. CHEESMAN WAS ONE OF OUR CHARTER MEMBERS AND THE FIRST MASTER OF KADOSH OF THE SHREVEPORT CONSISTORY.  HE SERVED AS GRAND MASTER IN 1915.  M:W: HOLLACE H. BAIN, ALSO A CHARTER MEMBER, SERVED AS THE FIRST SENIOR WARDEN OF THE EUREKA CHAPTER OF ROSE CROIX AND AS GRAND MASTER IN 1921.      M:W: ROBERT F. KENNON SERVED AS MAYOR OF MINDEN, JUSTICE OF THE LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA FROM 1952 TO 1956, AND GRAND MASTER IN 1936.  THREE MORE NOTABLE MEMBERS OF THE SHREVEPORT SCOTTISH RITE VALLEY, JAMES “JIMMIE” H. DAVIS AND JOHN J. McKEITHEN AND CHARLES ELSON “BUDDY” ROEMER ALSO BECAME GOVERNORS OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA.  GOVERNOR DAVIS WAS ELECTED IN 1944 AND 1960.  GOVERNOR McKEITHEN WAS ELECTED IN 1964 AND 1967.  GOVERNOR ROEMER SERVED LOUISIANA AS A REPRESENTATIVE IN THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS FROM 1981 TO 1988 AND AS GOVERNOR FROM 1988 TO 1992.M:W: OTTO E. PASSMAN SERVED LOUISIANA AS REPRESENTATIVE IN THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS FROM 1947 TO 1977 AND AS GRAND MASTER IN 1945.UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPH DAVID WAGGONNER SERVED NINE TERMS IN THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS FROM 1961 TO 1979.      ANOTHER DISTINGUISHED MEMBER, STATE REPRESENTATIVE WAYNE WADDELL, CURRENTLY SERVES IN THE LOUISIANA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.IN ADDITION TO THOSE LISTED ABOVE, THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS SERVED AS MAYORS OF SHREVEPORT: ERNEST RALPH BERNSTEIN (1906 TO 1908), J. G. PALMER (1930 TO 1932), JOHN McWILLIAMS FORD (1932), CLYDE E. FANT (1946 TO 1954 AND 1958 TO 1970), JAMES C. GARDNER (1954 TO 1958), L. CALHOUN ALLEN, JR. (1970 TO 1978). FRANK B. BLACKBURN SERVED AS MAYOR OF BOSSIER CITY FROM 1983 TO 1984. JOHN ALLEN DIXON, JR. SERVED AS JUSTICE OF THE LOUISIANA STATE SUPREME COURT FROM 1971 TO 1980.      THE MOST DISTINGUISHED OF ALL ARE THOSE MEMBERS WHO SERVED AS GRAND MASTER OF THE GRAND LODGE OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA.  IN ADDITION TO THOSE LISTED ABOVE, OTHER MEMBERS OF THE SHREVEPORT SCOTTISH RITE VALLEY WHO HAVE SERVED AS GRAND MASTER INCLUDE: M:W: JAMES H. ROWLAND, 1928; M:W: PHILIP LIEBER, 1935; M:W: J. LUTHER JORDAN, 1942;  M:W: D. LOUIE BUTLER, 1948; M:W: CLARENCE BEASLEY, 1954; M:W: MORRIS SHAPIRO, 1961; M:W: L. V. NOLES, 1963; M:W: A. J. LEWIS, 1967; M:W: T. SCOTT STRICKLAND, 1969; M:W: N. H. McCLAMROCK, Jr., 1973; M:W: THOMAS T. ELKINS, 1982; M:W: JAMES H. KING, 1983; M:W: ROY B. DELANEY, 1992; M:W: ROY B. TUCK, Jr., 1997; M:W: BALLARD L. SMITH, 1999;  M:W: CHARLES H. PENN, 2000 AND M:W: S. BRUCE EASTERLY, 2007.  AT THE TIME OF THIS WRITING, R:W: H. EDWARD DURHAM SERVES IN THE GRAND LINE WITH ASPIRATION TO SERVE AS GRAND MASTER IN 2013. THROUGH THE YEARS, “THE SHREVEPORT TIMES” HAS SUPPORTED THE SHREVEPORT SCOTTISH RITE BY PRINTING NEWSPAPER ARTICLES OF INTEREST CONCERNING SCOTTISH RITE EVENTS.  RECENTLY, THEIR STAFF GRACIOUSLY SEARCHED THROUGH THEIR ARCHIVES IN AN EFFORT TO FIND ANY PAST ARTICLES OF HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE TO THE SCOTTISH RITE.  THE RESULTS OF THEIR LABORS CAN BE SEEN BY CLICKING ON THE LINKS PROVIDED BELOW.  AS YOU WILL SEE, THE ARTICLES HAVE BEEN RETYPED FOR INCREASED CLARITY.  WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL FOR THE PAST AND CONTINUED SUPPORT WE HAVE RECEIVED FROM THE STAFF OF “THE SHREVEPORT TIMES”.      IT IS OUR SINCEREST HOPE THAT THE HISTORY PAGES OF TOMORROW WILL BE FILLED WITH POSITIVE INFLUENCES OF THE SHREVEPORT SCOTTISH RITE MASONS OF TODAY.          ARTICLES FROM “THE SHREVEPORT TIMES” NEWSPAPER:

·       MONDAY, OCT. 25, 1915; EIGHT MASONS HONORED·        THURSDAY, OCT. 28, 1915; CORNERSTONE CEREMONY·        MONDAY, NOV. 12, 1917; CATHEDRAL DEDICATION, 33° DEGREE CEREMONY AND FOURTEENTH REUNION PLANNED·       TUESDAY, NOV. 13, 1917; DETAILED ACCOUNT OF SCOTTISH RITE CATHEDRAL DEDICATION AND 33° DEGREE CONFERRAL CEREMONYÈ