The North Shore's World Landmark

October 24, 2008

Author: Lara Takenaga

Source: The Daily Northwestern

Just one mile from Northwestern's campus, a pearly white temple displaying intricate symbols from the world's major religions towers over North Shore suburbia.

Wilmette's Bahai House of Worship is one of the faith's seven temples worldwide and the only one in North America.

Despite the temple's proximity to NU, few students seem to know it exists, and those who do aren't familiar with the Bahai faith.

"It's kind of ridiculous that it's at our front door, and we don't even use it," Weinberg senior E.J. Porth said. "People may know about the temple, but not a lot of people go in and sit down."

When discussions began to build a temple in North America, the two largest Bahai communities were in Chicago and New York City. Wilmette was chosen after local Bahais made a strong push for it.

"The Bahais in Chicago just got on the ball quicker," said Nura Mowzoon, the Bahai House of Worship's volunteer and tour coordinator.

Although planning for the temple began in 1903, construction did not begin until 1921 and it was completed in 1953.