The El Paso Scottish Rite Temple was designed by Hubbell and Green of Dallas, Texas and built as an "Early Revival Style" by the R.E. McKee Construction Company of El Paso. Construction began in 1921 and was completed in slightly over 2 years. The original construction cost of the building was $ 350,000.00. Taking inflation into account that number would now exceed the $4 million mark in today’s economy, and that would be just for the building itself, not the contents.
Herbert Miller Greene (1871–1932), Dallas architect, was born in Huntington, Pennsylvania, in 1871. In 1876 the family moved to Peoria, Illinois, where he received his early schooling. He subsequently attended the University of Illinois and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture in 1893. He practiced architecture briefly in Peoria before moving to Dallas in 1897. There he operated his own office until 1900, when he formed a partnership with James P. Hubbell under the name Hubbell and Greene. During the first two decades of the twentieth century Greene produced a large number of important works, including the Dallas News Building, the Scottish Rite Dormitory for Girls in Austin, the Dallas Trust and Savings Bank, Westminster and Oak Cliff Presbyterian churches in Dallas, Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, the Neiman-Marcus Building in Dallas, and Scottish Rite cathedrals in Dallas, El Paso, San Antonio, and Joplin, Missouri. Greene was also the Chief Architect at the University of Texas and designed many of the buildings.
Greene was the most prolific designer of Scottish Rite Temples in Texas. His most interesting exercise in this genre was the El Paso Scottish Rite Temple. The El Paso Scottish Rite Temple is an almost literal transcription of architect Paul Philippe Cret’s Pan American Union Building on Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. built in 1913.
The Pan American Union Building and Herbert Greene’s gloss on it in El Paso, exhibit architecture of discreetly modulated forms, which reflect the functional plan and hierarchy of spaces within the buildings. The El Paso Temple is monumental without being grandiose.
You entered the building by ascending 3, 5 and 7 steps, these numbers being of special significance in the Masonic fraternity. The Temple is older than the Plaza Theater, predating it by 7 years, and is the birthplace of the El Paso Symphony Foundation.