Why Wilmette?

Sep 2010
2,106
United Kingdom
#1
Why was the first Baha'i House of Worship for the Western world, built in Wilmette, Illinois?

Is there a special connection between Abdu'l-Baha and this village?
 
Sep 2010
1,758
Louisiana
#2
proximity

The largest group of Baha'is in the USA was in the Chicago area. Aware of the erection of the first House of Worship in Russia the American believers petitioned to build a Temple also . I believe Abdul'baha suggested the site be near water and multiple sites were considered. It was bought in several lots at separate times. I don't think there was even much there at the time and Wilmette the village is all a bit later. I don't remember it even being called Wilmette in Corrine True's time. It took a great deal longer than anyone thought it would to build the Temple. Corinne True is considered the Mother of the Temple. Abdul'baha actually broke ground for the foundation, not without difficulty. The initial shovel was too weak, ground too hard, and I think the first blows were with an axe. I believe Corinne True and then Lua Getsinger were the next to turn over dirt. Someone posted a very enlightening letter from Abdul'baha to the Women's Temple Group (SIC) about contention between men and women. I think there was a bit of contention between the genders and this is prior to women's vote. That is the other ground that got broke in the Faith. We were also integrated in 1912 by Abdul'baha's instructions when others had tried to maintain the status quo. It had been a heartbreaking issue as reported by Louis Gregory, but the Master resolved it.
 
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Mar 2010
1,349
Rockville, MD, USA
#3

I believe Corinne True and then Lula Getsinger were the next to turn over dirt.
In fact, she was Lua Getsinger! (Her birth name was Louisa.)

And yes, at that time the temple area was "out in the country," the metropolitan area not yet having expanded that much.

Peace, :)

Bruce
 
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Jun 2006
4,316
California
#4
Why was the first Baha'i House of Worship for the Western world, built in Wilmette, Illinois?

Is there a special connection between Abdu'l-Baha and this village?
Actually the first Baha'i House of Worship was built in Ishqabad then in the Russian Empire and today in Turkministan.. Why? Because it was near the Persian border and Baha'is could in those days practise their religion openly in Russia which recognized the Faith at that time.

Baha’i Houses of Worship - Photo Gallery - Official Site of the Baha'i Faith in Belarus

The early Baha'is in the US went on pilgrimage to see Abdul-Baha and the Holy Places in Palestine/Israel. They became for the most part devoted tio the Cause and wanted to erect a House of Worship in their own country as the Baha'is did in Russia.

The Baha'i Faith was also first mentioned in America at the Chicago World's Fair at the World Parliament of Religions in 1893..

In those days a lot of people became Baha'is around Chicago as well as Kenosha, Wisconsin and so the site was decided to be in Wilmette...:yes:

When Abdul-Baha visited the US in1912 He dedicated the site and laid the corner stone for the Temple..

Shogh Effendi also wrote:

"I feel thoroughly convinced, and am moved to share this firm conviction within me with that great company of western believers, that in the speedy resumption of the sorely-neglected construction of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar at Wilmette lies our undoubted privilege, our primary obligation, our most vital opportunity to lend an unprecedented impetus to the advancement of the Cause, not only throughout the West but in every country of the world."

(Shoghi Effendi, Baha'i Administration, p. 152)
 
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Sep 2010
2,106
United Kingdom
#5
Actually the first Baha'i House of Worship was built in Ishqabad then in the Russian Empire and today in Turkministan
Which is why I asked why the first Baha'i House of Worship "FOR THE WESTERN WORLD" was built in Wilmette not for the whole world ;);)
 
Sep 2010
1,758
Louisiana
#6
Wilmette Temple

It is a spectacular building that has to be experienced. All the lacy cut out work is really cut out. You go inside and light comes through that dome. The architect drew full scale patterns by hand for ALL the exterior ornament. It is concrete that has crushed very white quartz in it. When taken out of the mold it has to be scrubbed with acid for the quartz to show. It has continued to evolve to match the original design with reflecting pools that weren't orignially built!!
 
Jun 2006
4,316
California
#7
There's a good article about the Houses of Worship that have been built and the sites for future Houses of Worship at:

Bahá'í House of Worship - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Also I forgot about this but there are inscriptions above the entrances and alcoves that should be noted:

Nine Inscriptions Carved Above the Entrances of the Temple:

"The earth is but one country; and mankind its citizens."
"The best beloved of all things in My sight is justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me."
"My love is My stronghold; he that entereth therein is safe and secure."
"Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner."
"Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent."
"I have made death a messenger of joy to thee; wherefore dost thou grieve?"
"Make mention of Me on My earth that in My heaven I may remember thee."
"O rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My Trust."
"The source of all learning is the knowledge of God, exalted be His glory."
BAHÁ'U'LLÁH

Nine Inscriptions Appearing In the Temple Alcoves:

"All the prophets of God proclaim the same faith."
"Religion is a radiant light and an impregnable stronghold."
"Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch."
"So powerful is unity's light that it can illumine the whole earth."
"Consort with the followers of all religions with friendliness."
"O Son of Being! Thou art My lamp and My light is in thee."
"O Son of Being! Walk in My statutes for love of Me."
"Thy Paradise is My love; thy heavenly home reunion with Me."
"The light of a good character surpasseth the light of the sun."
BAHÁ'U'LLÁH

Baha'i House of Worship, The

Light of inspiration

"The first concept was a temple of light," said Mr. Hariri, a Toronto-based architect.

"Light, after all, is the connecting force of the universe and all religions celebrate its spiritual delights.

"That was our starting point -- that it would glow with a dreamlike serenity which will explore the range of the phenomena of light and shadow in continual interaction."

Stimulation for that inspiration, he said, came in part from a close examination of the dome of the Baha'i Temple in Wilmette, Illinois, in the United States.


From an article about the future Temple being erected in Santiago, Chile:

Bahai News - Casting light on design of Temple