The Consistory has been part of the Des Moines community since 1892. The membership began construction the present building in 1926 on the corner of 6th Avenue and Park Street in downtown Des Moines. The Des Moines Scottish Rite building itself was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Over the last 70-odd years, the members and friends of the Scottish Rite have generously donated a variety of artwork to the Consistory.
The South (Main) Entrance bronze doors are one example. A 1927 Des Moines Evening Tribune article describes the doors as “cast bronze” weighing 750 pounds each and costing $4500. These same doors grace the building almost 80 years since they were installed.
The tapestry was woven in Aubusson, France. Apart from its large size, the tapestry is unique by the extreme details of the foliage and figures woven in the fabric. The tapestry has been dated to the 17th century (attributed to 1690). It has a commanding presence in the room and is flanked by several antique pieces.
The tapestry was presented to the Consistory by Carl Weeks, 32 Degree KCCH, in 1958. It presently hangs in the main reception room (lounge) on the second floor. It underwent preservation work in 2003.
Carl Weeks is well known for building the Salisbury House, a one time home and present Des Moines cultural institution. The home was built as an English manor home and incorporates authentic building materials dating from the 1500’s. He also donated several other significant cultural items to the Consistory.
The small tapestries that flank the large Aubusson Tapestry in the main second floor Lounge. It continues the mythical theme of the larger piece. Both are of French production and are several hundred years old.
Busts, Carvings, and Paintings
The Consistory includes artwork in nearly every public room in the building. The artwork represents over 70 years of tradition. Pictured at right is relief of Eugene Mannheimer, a member of the Consistory. The relief is on display on the 3rd floor, just off the main Auditorium.
To the left is a bust of George Washington in the main lobby. The Lounge on the Second Floor includes a bust of President Lincoln.
The members of the Scottish Rite have been generous in giving artwork to the Consistory. Guy Logan, former Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard and Scottish Rite member, helped outfit the ornate Conference Room with statuettes. The Chamberlain family of Des Moines donated the pipe organ in the Auditorium, which regularly used for Scottish Rite and community events. Countless other members have supplied individual pieces throughout the five floors of the building.
Details and Molding
Significant moldings and decorate ceilings are found throughout the building.
Ornate ceiling decoration and moldings can be found in the main floor lobby, 2nd Floor Meeting Room and the third floor auditorium.
Preservation for the Future
Preservation of the Consistory and its artwork is a long-term goal of the membership. The Scottish Rite membership have established two non-profit foundations to support the Consistory Building.