Shriners International is a brotherhood of men committed to family, engaged in ongoing personal growth, and dedicated to caring for children and families in need. Our backgrounds and interests are diverse, but we are bound together by our shared values and a desire to have fun, do well, and build relationships that can last a lifetime. Although Shriners International is a brotherhood, it is also an organization focused on bringing families together. Many of our fraternity’s activities are designed to involve family members, promote our shared values and help develop the next generation of community and business leaders.
Shriners have counted among our ranks as Presidents, farmers, electricians, law enforcement officers, city workers, Senators, lawyers, military members, professional golfers, plumbers, country music stars, astronauts, racecar drivers, and many other walks of life. Besides being a leader in their field of expertise, Shriners also believe it is also important to be a leader in their personal life. Our unique brotherhood helps good men become better – at home, at work and in business. In order to get a better understanding of how this all works together, join me on a trip into the past.
In 1870 a group of Masons gathered frequently for lunch at the Knickerbocker Cottage on Sixth Avenue in New York City. At a special table on the second floor a particularly fun-loving group of men met regularly. Among the regulars were Walter M. Fleming, M.D. and William J. “Billy” Florence, an actor. The group frequently talked about starting a new fraternity for Masons – one centered on fun and fellowship, more than ritual. Fleming and Florence took this idea seriously enough to do something about it.
Billy Florence had been on tour in France, and had been invited to a party given by an Arabian diplomat. The exotic style, flavors and music of the Arabian-themed party inspired him to suggest this as a theme for the new fraternity. Walter Fleming, a devoted fraternity brother, built on his ideas and used his knowledge of fraternal ritual to transform the Arabian theme into the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.), now known as Shriners International. Today there are 200 Temples worldwide, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Brazil, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Panama.
Shriners Hospitals for Children was founded in 1922 with the goal of providing expert medical care for children with no financial burden to the patients or their families. The specialty areas of care that the hospitals provide are orthopedics, cleft lip and palate, burn care, and spinal cord injury. There are many hospitals located between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Besides the hospitals, there are many more clinics and outreach facilities being used to bring only the best health care to children all over the world. If you would like to find out more about these hospitals and the services that they provide, please visit www.shrinerschildrens.org. In order for these hospitals to thrive and for these children to be taken care of, a special kind of Mason had to be created. This Mason is known as a Shriner.
On March 15, 1887, Edward C. Culp, the first Isis Shrine Potentate (1887-1890 & 1898-1902), traveled to Cleveland, OH, and was initiated in the Shrine and received authority from the Imperial Potentate to travel back to Kansas and organize a temple. On March 19, 1887, 14 elected officers sent a petition to the Imperial Counsel for a dispensation for a Temple to be known as Isis Temple, and it was granted on March 29, 1887. June 17, 1887, the membership of the Isis Shrine Temple was 73 members, 52 having been initiated, and 21 were listed as charter members.
In June 1887, Illustrious Sir Culp and ten members of the ISIS Shrine Temple attended the Imperial Counsel in Indianapolis, IN, to present the claims of the Isis Temple for a charter. It was granted on June 20, 1887, and was to have jurisdiction over 67 counties in Kansas. This made Isis Shrine Temple only the third temple, Abdallah Temple (Shawnee Mission, KS) and Islam Temple (San Francisco, CA), west of St. Louis.
To help other Temples become part of this wonderful fraternity throughout the central United States, the Isis Shrine Temple Divan and Nobility were asked to help with this undertaking. Under a special dispensation from the Imperial Counsel, the Isis Shrine Temple made a pilgrimage to Denver, CO, on September 23, 1887. At this time, they created 40 Nobles who became the founders of El Jebel Temple. On January 24, 1888, Isis Temple assisted Abdallah Temple in the institution of Ararat Temple, Kansas City, MO. During an annual meeting on December 15, 1908, 75 Nobles presented a petition for a new Temple in Wichita. After a supportive recommendation to the Imperial Counsel, a dispensation was granted on June 9, 1909, and Midian Temple was opened on October 15, 1909. On this same day, Mirza Temple was also instituted. The creation of these temples reduced the Isis Shrine’s jurisdiction from 67 counties to 43 counties. The state of Kansas now has five active Shrine Temples, Abdallah (located in Shawnee Mission, chartered 1887), Isis (located in Salina, chartered 1887), Midian (located in Wichita, chartered 1909), Mirza (located in Pittsburg, chartered 1909), and Arab (located in Topeka chartered 1932).
Isis Temple held its first meetings rent-free at Salina’s first established Masonic Temple, 122 South Santa Fe Ave, Salina, KS. They were allowed to meet rent-free until 1890, when they had to start paying $20 a month. March 2, 1895, brought devastation to all Masonic brothers when a fire destroyed the building. It was replaced with a three-story building, which met the same fate on January 30, 1922. It was replaced with what is now known as the Masonic Center located at 336 South Santa Fe Ave, Salina, KS. In 2014, a decision was made by the nobility that the Isis Shrine Temple needed its own location to carry out their rituals and dedication to helping children and purchased the old Ponderosa Steak House, located at 200 E. Diamond Dr, Salina, KS. On December 30, 2022, this location was sold and now daily operations are conducted at 1418 S Santa Fe, Salina, KS.
Throughout the 43-county Isis Shrine jurisdiction are Shriners who belong to different Units and/or Clubs. The Uniformed Units and local Shrine Clubs help keep the Isis Shrine operational and help children. Over time, there have been many different units within the Uniformed Units and many different clubs throughout our jurisdiction. Today we have 9 Units in the Uniformed Units and 19 Shrine Clubs throughout our jurisdiction.
Throughout the history of not just the Isis Shrine Temple but all 200 Temples worldwide, Nobles needed help to do this. The backing of their families, and most importantly, their ladies or significant other, has made it possible. Thank you to all the ladies, significant others, and family members who stand behind your Nobles and support them in what they do. That is supporting this outstanding organization and its one primary purpose, ensuring children are taken care of.