Year Listed: 2017
The Scottish Rite was a rare and early example of poured concrete architecture in Tacoma that dated from 1922. Designed by the acclaimed Tacoma architecture firm Sutton, Whitney and Dugan, the building’s style defied easy categorization. It anchored a prominent corner lot across from Wright Park in Tacoma’s historic Stadium District and served as a fraternal hall, an events venue, and a church.
Unfortunately because churches are not subject to landmark laws in Washington State, the demolition of the Scottish Rite could not be prevented, and the building came down in October 2017. Through negotiations with the City of Tacoma Historic Preservation Officer, the church agreed to some mitigation steps, including DAHP level II documentation, salvage, onsite interpretive measures in the new building, and to help fund preservation planning efforts through Historic Tacoma. The new structure will also require design review by the Landmarks Commission per code.
The Scottish Rite represents a larger issue of concern witnessed in urban areas across the country. The congregation was unable to maintain the building and due to the high land value, a prospective developer tore it down in the name of increased density.