The Scottish Rite Cathedral was constructed in 1869
under Reverend Collier's supervision.
The Unity Church was a center of the religious and social life
of the City of Chicago during the city's infancy. The church was
partially destroyed during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, but
Chicago architects Burling & Adler were able to rebuild the church
and it again served its parishioners. Unfortunately the parishioner's
homes were constructed of wood and these homes were totally
destroyed by the Great Fire.
In 1900 Pastor Collier sold the church to Medinah Temple who shared
the new facility with the Scottish Rite. In 1911, Medinah Temple built
their new Mosque at Wabash & Ohio Streets and the Scottish Rite
purchased the old Collier's Church from Medinah Temple. The Scottish
Rite placed options on the surrounding properties for future acquisitions.
During the period of joint ownership, the church underwent several
changes, the floors were leveled, a stage was placed where the
altar once stood, and the E.& G.G. Hook & Hastings Organ
(which was installed in 1878) was moved from its original position
behind the altar to the opposite side of the auditorium. The area above
the altar was used for the storage of the backdrops used in the
degree work. Sound and Lighting were added to complete the theatrical
effects needed for presentation of degrees. The sound and Lighting
have since been computerized.
The Scottish Rite has maintained much of the original decor of
the church. The woodwork is in excellent condition as are the
original stained glass windows. These stairs
lead to the 2nd floor, where the church was located.
Many churches were on the upper floor because central heating
was unknown. The offices and the large community room, now our
dining room, are in mint condition and reflect the lifestyle of the late
19th and early 20th century.
As you read this information about the Scottish Rite, be assured
that we are now getting ready for the 21st century and welcome