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Burning Crosses: A Brief Examination of a Klan Castle on Denver's Capitol hill

Updated: Apr 6, 2019

The following was the result of a find a made during the course of my research of Denver's early Chinatown. I was going to fit it in with 'Town Rows, Building Blocks of the Queen City' But considering the time frame I feel it warrants it's own exhibit. Before you read you must take into account that the people that currently occupy it were not in charge of the architecture.

Burning Crosses

Many people are aware of the second wave of national Klan activity that took place in Denver during the 1920’s but few are aware of how much preparation and planning they had before their meteoric reappearance. Also unaware to most is the fact that a visual testament to their efforts is still standing. First an introduction to the group behind the second rising and its chief member is required. The Group:

Knights of the Golden Circle

The K.G.C. (Knights of the Golden Circle) were a fraternal organization started before the civil war on behalf of southern interests. Being that their ultimate goal was succession from the union with the plan of forming their own confederacy of states, they found it important to keep their hierarchy exclusive and their initiation process rigorous. Like most fraternal organizations of the nineteenth century, they had three initial steps into group indoctrination before one was allowed to pursue the deeper avenue of understanding that, in this group was deemed, the inner temple. Now, the deeper inner temple and its secrets have been kept well-guarded since the civil war, but before the war, in 1861, when the KGC was actively recruiting in a way that has not been seen since, a member published a book describing the first three degrees in detail. The author was Perrine and the book was called an ‘An authentic Exposition of The KGC by a member of the order’.

Knights of the Golden Circle

The first thing that might cause authenticity issues would be the very word authentic. But the reason why this was so brashly claimed was because this book was a recruiting tool. It was used to explain the groups’ main focus and goals while offering an attractive “higher learning” option after one undertook the three step indoctrination ceremony offered in the basic masonic groups of the period. It was also a defensive historical record, being written within weeks of the civil war starting, it describes causes and expectations of succession as well as tactics that helped bring it about. The outer temple is described in detail as well as the initiatory three steps, and it is these details that allow for identification of a castle in Denver. But first we need to look at the golden circles mother organization: the Scottish rite.

Scottish Rite Denver

The very name is misleading as it comes from a French word for Scottish “ecossaise”, and this rite is a group of higher learning that one may undertake after completing the first three degrees of freemasonry. A layman’s guide to fraternal organizations will be offered in “Paths To Enlightenment: A Comparative Study of Nineteenth Century Fraternal Organizations And Modern Day Twelve step Programs”, but for now all that is necessary to be known is that anyone who pursued the teachings of the Scottish rite had to first undertake the three master mason steps that are available to all.

After one has undertaken these life changing and veil lifting steps, the master mason is expected to pursue higher knowledge in selective groups;

“…group(s) of people, with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them.”


The Scottish rite “clique” was founded in France in the 1700s but branches were set up in the colonies and after one generation there was a split: foreign and native. This is an oversimplification of course, but to know the golden circle one just needs a basic understanding of this native Scottish rite clique and its key member in the mid 1800s, one Albert Pike.

Albert Pike

Albert Pike was the man that rewrote the book for Scottish rite freemasonry to better suit a “native” experience. A confederate soldier, he is honored with a statue in Washington D.C... The tie between native Scottish rite freemasonry and the golden circle has been documented and Alfred pikes record in the confederate army, even more so. After the war the first wave of the Ku Klux Klan (circle family) started their campaign of resistance. There was a second wave in the second decade of the twentieth century. Again it has been documented that this second wave borrowed a lot of its imagery from the first wave, with a generous splash of birth of a nation.

Birth of a Nation

Its natural to think that this second wave would not only have Scottish rite ties but that it would also be taking cues from the recruiting manual produced before the war and readily available.

From the book page 12:

“…of a large Temple Under the Dome of what shown a beautiful representation of the Noonday sun and around the corona of which were fixed 15 stars…”

And in picture page on page 14:

Knights of the Golden Circle

Klan Castle

And Page 47

Knights of the Golden Circle

As compared with the entrance to the sottish rite building on Denver’s Capitol Hill built in 1918.

Klan Castle

From the book page 12:

...The temple with it's glowing sun and fifteen stars, foreshadows the glorious "sunny south" under the benign influence of a fully matured southern government..."

The sun for the sunny south in between the pillars is the first obvious comparison but the entablature where the fifteen stars are supposed to be placed, is not. Instead of fifteen stars we see fifteen lines. And when is a star a line?

The bottom two pictures show the corners of the entabature.

Those circles? From the book page 12:

"The symbols were a long bronzed crescent, or new moon... (the) crescent represents the growing South..."

Not crescent moons; now they're matured full moons. But more importantly they provide the starting point of a pattern.

Full moon, three shooting stars, repeat until there are fifteen stars and end with the moon.

So when we look at the corner of the entablature we see that it is an architectural cue that the pattern extends into the building, fifteen stars and six moons deep, to the back. Adding the back entablature façade to the unseen side, we see that it is supposed to be that four pillared base we see in the picture.

And the dome that is representitive of a rising sun? Right where it’s supposed to be:

Denver Ku Klux Klan

At this time I feel it necessary to point out how I make my assertions. If you notice in the overhead view, there is a building across the street that has a roof that looks kind of like a Klan cross. Case closed right?

No. this is not flat earth theory. That resemblance to the Klan cross in itself is not condemning, cursory examination of the building shows ionic columns and unremarkable lintels. As of yet there is nothing else on this building that I can see that would identify it as a ”Klan” building. But the juxtaposition of those first three symbols on the Scottish rite building; the sun, columns, dome, they form a triangulatory identification. When we add time into the equation; i.e. the year the building was built, during the second uprising, it should be plain to see that the placement was deliberate and was a proclamation that the Klan was making a move. A big one.

Denver Ku Klux Klan
That has been well documented.

But there are more identifying marks; from the book page 12:

“ …to these were added the skull and crossbones…the skull and crossbones signify “death to all abolitionist and opposers of southern independence”

In the windows, the x’s are the crossbones; the squares: skulls.

Right before the war, a tract was distributed:

from the book pages 23-24:

“About this time a new emblem was added to the Order. It was a simple triangular white card, somewhat resembling the Knights spear, in the three corners of which were written the figures 7, 3, and 5. In the center of this card was printed the capital letter ‘R’ and immediately below this was written the numbers 61.

Let the reader presume this card to be placed before him with a long acute angle upwards as the upper part of a spear in situ; let him imagine the figure 7 in the left-hand corner, the figure 3 in the upper corner, and the figure 5 in the right-hand corner. Now he should place the capital letter “R” in the center of the card, and 61 immediately under it, and read as follows, beginning with a capital R, and running round the several angles of the card, from left to right: R-Revolution. 7-3-5 equals 15, of fifteen states in 61 (1861) or Revolution of 15 states in 61. These cards were thrown about the streets and corners of many of the northern border cities nearly two months before the election of Mr. Lincoln”

Klan hood
Sorta looks like a hood, Don't it?

Now, look at the address on the stones. The 3 and 7 are there, I will let you find the five: hint, the instructions to find it are written right on the stone.

These aren’t the last symbols though, the last (so far) is the icon on the northern face. In the book, from the second step, page 83:

“ emblem 28 gold Circle encasing Greek cross in center of which is a star”

And what do we see facing north? A Greek cross encased in gold, encircled, sans the star, but which most likely can be found if looked at up close.

And the final feature? Placement. The building was built in the direction the sunny south lies to the capital building,; the south east.

By now I found myself thinking: where did all this money cone from, I mean a gradual buildup that went unseen for a couple of years maybe, but how do you fund a movement that includes building buildings? And then I remembered the legend of the hidden K.G.C. gold. For over a hundred years rumors of caches of riches hidden by confederates to support a second coming have been circulating. And while a few discoveries of gold coins have fueled this hope, one has to remember where the rich bury their gold.

In investment portfolios, liquid assets, stocks, bonds, banks…real estate. You know, where no one would suspect…

Ku Klux Klan Denver

Out in the open

The length of the early influence of the K.G.C. will be examined in "Town Rows, Building Blocks of The Queen City"


Perrine C.O., An authentic exposition of the KGC, C.O. Perrine, 1861 (Free download available on Googleplay)

Goodstein, Phil. Denver from the Bottom Up Vol. 2: In The Shadow of The Klan',New Social Publications, 2003


Author Unkown, Albert Pike ,,2018 Webpage

Caveot, Lector, Albert Pike, Freemasonry and the K.G.C. ,2018,WebvPage

Numerous authors, 2018, Web Page


Albert Pike

Scottish Rite

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