Murat Shrine

Murat Shrine
Murat Shrine

The Murat Shrine, now officially known as Old National Centre and originally known as the Murat Temple and Murat Centre, is an entertainment venue in Indianapolis, Indiana, owned by the Murat Shriners of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. It is the oldest stage house in downtown Indianapolis that is still standing, the only Shrine temple in the world with a French-originating name, and the largest Shrine temple in North America.[1] [2]

Contents

History

In 1882 five Freemasons decided they wished to see a Shrine organization in Indianapolis. They joined the Shrine Temple at Cincinnati, Ohio, and had that temple's help in establishing an Indianapolis temple. The local organization of the Shrine, called the Indianapolis Shriners, was given its charter on June 4, 1884. The first potentate was John T. Brush, who served as such from 1884 to 1897. Lew Wallace and Thomas Taggart were among their first Ceremonial Class, held in 1885. By the end of the first year there were 105 members. The Indianapolis Valley of Scottish Rite gave them the "Pork House" of Townsley and Wiggans to hold meeting in.[3] [4]

The Murat Temple was built in 1909 by the William P. Jungclaus Company using the designs of Murat Shriner Oscar D. Bohlen, with Middle-eastern and Egyptian stylings that were fitting for a building intended for Shriners. Its namesake is the Nubian Desert oasis Bir Murat, which was named for the Frenchman Joachim Murat, who was one of Napoleon's general in his Egyptian campaign.[5] [4]

The Murat Shrine gave the Indianapolis Zoo its first camel and established the 500 Festival Parade.[3]

The Murat Shrine is mostly known by the people of Indianapolis for its theatre, which was built in 1910. In its early days it featured Broadway plays and even a 1932 speech by Winston Churchill. between 1948 and 1963 it was the only road show venue in Indianapolis. Before the Clowes Memorial Hall opened in 1963, it was the home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; the Orchestra only survived the Great Depression due to the nominal fee the Temple charged the Orchestra for using the theatre. The Indianapolis Opera Company briefly used the facility during the 1980s.[3]

In 1984 the Murat Shriners had the second largest membership of all Shrine temples in the world.[3]

In 1988 a fire broke out in the 1968 addition, injuring 15 firefighters when a portion of the addition collapsed. Other than that, there was relatively little damage to the addition.[3]

On April 13, 2000, Murat Shrine had a famous wrestling match. Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) had scheduled a card at the temple. Days before, its World champion, Mike Awesome, left ECW to join rival company World Championship Wrestling (WCW). After various legal threats, it was arranged for Awesome to drop the title in Indianapolis. ECW owner Paul Heyman asked the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) to see if they could borrow Tazz, who once wrestled in ECW, to win the title from Awesome. Permission was granted, thus having a WWF wrestler defeat a WCW wrestler for the ECW Title. This match was not promoted, due to being arranged last-minute, and few in attendance knew the match would take place.

Construction

Murat Centre, closeup from Southeast side

The building is themed after Islamic temples found in the Middle-east and Egypt. Features of the building include stained-glass windows, terra cotta trim, minarets, and brick banding of brown and yellow. A 208 feet (63 m) tall tower is at the southeast corner. An addition to the temple in 1922 was designed to blend with the existing structure. The Egyptian-themed auditorium added as part of the 1922 addition was already planned before the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb, which coincided with the opening of the auditorium. [5]

Facilities

The main sections of Murat Shrine are the 1,800-seat concert hall and the 2,500-seat performing arts theater. There are 9 areas used today to host events. The largest is the Egyptian Room, which can hold 2000 people for a standing cocktail reception. The smaller areas are the Corinthian Hall, Corinthian Annex and Corinthian Meeting Room, The Great Hall, The Crowne Room and various lobby areas.[6] [7]

See also

  • Scottish Rite Cathedral (Indianapolis, Indiana)

References

  1. ^ Bodenhamer, David. The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis (Indiana University Press, 1994) pg.1026, 1027
  2. ^ Indianapolis Downtown Inc
  3. ^ a b c d e Bodenhamer 1027
  4. ^ a b Murat Shrine
  5. ^ a b Bodenhamer 1026, 1027
  6. ^ Indianapolis: What To Do: The Murat Centre
  7. ^ Murat Shrine Temple Rooms

External links


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