|The cornerstone for the Bahá'í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois was laid in 1912 by `Abdu'l-Bahá during his only visit to the United States and Canada. Construction began in 1921 was completed in 1953, with a delay of several years during the Great Depression and World War II. The Wilmette House of Worship is the largest and the oldest surviving Bahá'í House of Worship. Known by Baha'is as the "Mother Temple of the West" and formally as the "Bahá'í House of Worship for the North American Continent", it stands in north suburban Cook County, on the shores of Lake Michigan. The cladding is made out of white portland cement concrete with both clear and white quartz aggregate. It has received numerous design awards, and it is a prominent Chicago-area landmark. In 1978, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The height of the auditorium is 138 feet (42 m), and the diameter of the dome is 90 feet (27.5 m). The auditorium seats 1,192 visitors. Like some other Bahá'í temples, it has a gallery balcony from which choirs or soloists may perform. No instrumental music is allowed during services in the auditorium, although all kinds of music may be performed in the meeting room below. In general, no videography, photography, or any other activity inconsistent with quiet meditation is allowed in the auditorium. The building is open to visitors every day of the year. Currently, devotional services are held at 9:15 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 5.15 p.m. daily. A Visitor's Center, located underneath the main auditorium, includes restrooms, offices, a bookstore, library and research room, a viewing room for films, and a Foundation Hall, which is used for large meetings and holy day celebrations. The large, underground area also contains offices not regularly open to the general public including a media center, studios, and the Baha'i Archives, which can be visited by appointment.
Location: Wilmette, IL
Category: Buildings: Religious
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