by Adeline Ferolo

With towering stained glass windows and a storied past, the Scottish Rite Theatre is set to open soon—here’s a sneak peek.

Overview:

The Scottish Rite Theatre is located on 400 NE Perry Avenue in Peoria, IL, nestled between I-74, OSF hospital, and Obed & Isaac’s Restaurant and Brewery. Its prime location was previously overlooked due to its relatively reclusive past. The Masons owned and operated it for almost a century, hosting ceremonies and members-only gatherings. Due to dwindling membership over the past few decades, the building was rented out for local weddings, concerts, and theatre productions to bring in additional income. Now the KDB Group is revamping the space to house local theatre productions and events, and the building will soon welcome the public to enjoy its beautiful stained glass and hightech lighting rig in the renovated theatre. For Peorians familiar with the exterior structure of the building, including myself, I was simply stunned when initially touring the interior. The following photos capture the extensive past history, present state, and future finished, state-of-the-art Scottish Rite Theatre located in downtown Peoria.

Past:

The following group of photos illustrates the elusive past of the Scottish Rite Theatre, which previously housed the local Masonic temple in Peoria. Remnants of the Mason’s presence are still observed in the building today. From multi-story shelves stuffed with old records crowding a small closet in the main office, to the original piano stored on the top floor. The building’s past continues to characterize its present state.


Towering shelves store documents related to the
Scottish Rite dating back a century.

The Peoria Scottish Rite installed a Moller pipe organ
shortly after the dedication of the building in 1925.
The KDB Group hopes to restore it.

Present:

The building’s past has been persevered in the stunning architecture which defines it as a Peoria landmark. The row of stained glass windows lining the second floor balcony of the theatre is a prime example. These windows contain symbols imbued with centuries of significance, drawing inspiration from traditional Christian-styled windows, yet revealing themes and characters of the Masonic brotherhood. The colorful windows continue to contribute to the performative atmosphere of the building.

Light spills into the Scottish Rite Theatre
through intricate stained glass windows.

Future:

The detailed renovation of the Scottish Rite Theatre by the KDB Group, which began in 2019, will soon be visible to the public as they open up the theatre and event space. A new HVAC unit, electrical wiring, and an extensive lighting system are the highlightsof the renovation. The theatre lighting system has the ability to be controlled completely by the touch of a finger from a mobile phone and has the possibility to create a variety of color combinations on both the theatre and audience areas. Through these intricate updates, the KDB Group has reinvigorated the slogan of “It plays in Peoria” in the current Peoria arts community.


The Scottish Rite Theatre can seat 900 people.
Photographer and mentor David Vernon takes photos for a feature story in
Peoria Magazines. Read the article by visiting peoriamagazines.com.

Jenny Parkhust, the KDB Group’s Executive Director
of Performing Arts, demonstrates light controls.

About Adeline Ferolo

Stories, arguably, are the most underrated form of currency that floods the digital world, through highlighted Instagram posts and viral YouTube videos. As a rising senior at Richwoods High School, Adeline Ferolo aims to express herself and the issues closest to her authentically through engaging, storytelling, and other mediums. She is a competitively academic student. Her interests range across many creative outlets—as an active writer for the Richwoods Shield, the monthly school newspaper, and as a contributor to the youth-led blog EnviroWrite, which explores rising environmental concerns. Recently she has discovered her passion for the medium of film after attending the National High School Institute summer program at Northwestern University, where she had previously studied creative-intensive subjects ranging from sustainable architecture to graphic design. Within the past year, she has focused her efforts on exploring the visual medium in both her academic and personal life, opting to create experimental videos for class projects and continuing to explore different aspects of the visual language.

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