Scottish Rite Cathedral

650 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, Indiana

Beautiful Tudor Gothic limestone Masonic Temple


Photo taken by J.R. Manning in August 2016



Street View 


"The Scottish Rite Cathedral is a large limestone building of Judor Gothic architecture located on Meridian Street between North and Walnut Streets in downtown Indianapolis.

"The building is rectangular in plan, measuring 330' x 120', and features a center tower 210' in height. Completed in 1929, the structure is one of the city's most famous architectural landmarks and is generally acknowledged to be one of the finest examples of its style in the Midwest, and possibly in the nation.

"The building's main (east) facade is symmetrical, with the main entry located in a center pavilion. The large pointed-arch opening containing this entry is flanked by wall buttresses with gablets. Four-story, octagonal towers appear on either side of the pavilion.

"The dominant feature of the building, the 210' tower, appears just behind the entry pavilion. This tower is square in plan, and features angle wall buttresses, large stained glass windows in pointed-arch openings, and a delicately-pierced parapet wall. This tower contains a 65-bell carillon, at one time the largest in the country, and is specially reinforced to carry this heavy load.

"The wings on either side of the entry pavilion are each comprised of five bays delineated by interposing wall buttresses. The splayed window openings in these bays vary in shape and size from one floor level to the next; the most notable of these are the wide, tudor-arched openings on the second floor level. Flying buttresses near the tops of the interposing wall buttresses visually support the slightly set-back upper floors. Large, three-story octagonal towers terminate the north and south wings; these towers feature clasping wall buttresses and splayed window openings with label hood molds.

"The north and south facades of the structure feature auxiliary entries similar to that on the main facade. Decorative detailing throughout the exterior of the building is similar to that on the main facade, and includes the use of wall buttresses, flying buttresses, and octagonal towers on the extreme western corners of the north and south wings."

Adapted from the National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form prepared by Harry E. Hunter, A.I.A., Tislow, Hunter & Associates, Inc., October 19, 1982. A link to the document is listed below under "Sources."

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 6, 1983
Reference number
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Tudor Gothic
Areas of significance
Architecture; Social History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Period of significance
Significant years
1927; 1929

Update Log 

  • November 28, 2016: New photos from Michael Miller
  • October 16, 2016: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, added description and added photos

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