The Pillars of Charity: Honoring Donors to the House of the Temple

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Travis Simpkins

The House of the Temple in Washington, DC, is the headquarters of the Supreme Council, 33°, Southern Jurisdiction. Inside the building are the Scottish Rite SJ's Museum, Library, Archives, Temple Room, offices, banquet hall and other spaces. The edifice is also a mausoleum, with two crypts holding the earthly remains of Past Sovereign Grand Commanders John Henry Cowles, 33° (1863 – 1954) and Albert Pike, 33° (1809 – 1891). Between the tombs of these Illustrious Brethren is an alcove lit by a radiant stained glass window, with the words Pillars of Charity chiseled above. On either side of the alcove's walls are small pillars with the names of those who have made the generous contribution of $1,000,000 or more to either the House of the Temple Historic Preservation Foundation, Inc. or the Scottish Rite Foundation, SJ, USA, Inc. In further recognition of their generosity, donors are also immortalized with an oil painting to be displayed in the nearby portrait gallery.

Earlier this year, I was commissioned by the Supreme Council, 33°, SJ to paint the latest addition to the Pillars of Charity Portrait Gallery. I am honored that the Scottish Rite, SJ thinks highly enough of my talents to ask me to create this important recognition of generosity. The subjects of the double-portrait, Ill. Thomas A. Rossman, 33° and his wife, Patricia, are dedicated supporters of the House of the Temple and this was their 2nd donation of $1 Million to the Historic Preservation Foundation. A native of Detroit, Illustrious Brother Rossman was raised in Center Line Lodge No. 550 and joined the Scottish Rite Valley of Detroit (NMJ) in 1963. The Rossmans moved to Hawaii in 1989, where he is now a life member of the Valley of Honolulu (SJ) and Mrs. Rossman is a member of Lei Aloha Chapter No. 3, Order of the Eastern Star.

As Masons, we must keep in mind the importance of contributing to the long term maintenance of our magnificent buildings for future generations. The House of the Temple is a cause that is certainly worthy of any support you can offer. Not all of us have a million dollars to spare, but most all of us are capable of making some financial contribution. Please visit the Scottish Rite, SJ's website and click on the “Giving” tab to see the many ways in which you can help. Or on a smaller scale, when you make a purchase from their online store, please click “yes” on the checkout tab when asked if you'll round up the total to support the House of the Temple. Their website is


Travis Simpkins is a freelance artist with clients throughout the United States and Europe. He currently works on projects for the Supreme Council, 33°, NMJ in Lexington, Massachusetts and the Supreme Council, 33°, SJ in Washington, DC. He also serves as a portrait artist for the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Grand Lodge of New Jersey and other jurisdictions across North America. His artwork is in many esteemed collections, including the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum in Independence, Missouri and the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.

Bro. Simpkins is a member of Morning Star Lodge A.F. & A.M. in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is a 32° Mason in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite- Valleys of Worcester and Boston. He is also a member of Eureka Royal Arch Chapter, Hiram Council of Royal & Select Master Masons and Worcester County Commandery No. 5, Knights Templar.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.