It was bittersweet to hear the news of the iconic Wichita Scottish Rite building sale for first time since 1898. Although in Wichita, many Newton men belong. I lived in Rose Hill when I joined 37 years ago. I joined the Scottish Rite fraternal order of Masonry in that very building at First Street and Topeka Avenue in a 3-day "class" conferring the fourth to 32nd degrees on April 29, 30 and May 1, 1982, when I became a 32º degree Scottish Rite Mason. I then joined the other main branch, the York Rite in Wichita, a year later. The basic three basic degrees are conferred in Masonic Lodges in local towns, across the state.
The Scottish Rite bought that building way back in 1898, when the YMCA fell on hard times. We have fewer members now and expenses are ongoing. The sale to the new owners is momentous, given that the Scottish Rite (sometimes referred to by the colloquial term ("the Consistory") has been held by one owner for so long. It always reminded me of a castle. It doesn't have the tall, cone-shaped cupola that it did in 1898, which survived for several decades. Yet, its flattened top still has that castle-like appearance.
I'm glad that the Scottish Rite Masons will still have some usage of the building. Wichita Scottish Rite is still alive and accepting new members. With Wichita's York Rite now meeting at the Masonic Hall in Newton, I am hopeful that more and more good men will step forward and ask to join a fine fraternal order that I prefer to call a "friendship society," which imparts good ethical lessons and contributes positively in various communities nationwide and worldwide.
— James A. Marples, Esbon