Our History

Shriners International

150+ Years of Fun and Fellowship

The history of Shriners International is the story of individuals who came together in the spirit of fun and fellowship, who would lay the foundation for a worldwide fraternity and establish a globally recognized pediatric specialty health care system. 

In 1870, a group of 13 Masons would regularly meet at the Knickerbocker Cottage in New York City. Often, discussion turned to forming a new fraternity for Masons, based on the tenets of Freemasonry but with the added elements of fun and fellowship. 

Walter Fleming, M.D., and Billy Florence, an actor, were among the members of the group. Florence had been on tour in Europe and attended a party given by an Arabian diplomat. The exotic style, flavors and music of the Arabian-themed party led Florence to suggest this as the theme of the new fraternity, while Dr. Fleming and other members of the group then drafted the ritual, designed the emblem and costumes, formulated a salutation and declared that members would wear the red fez.  

The name of this new fraternity was the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. While the fraternity’s first official meeting was in 1871 at the Knickerbocker Cottage, a meeting in 1872 established the first chapter, Mecca Shriners in NYC, on September 26.  Today, there are more than 198 chapters in countries around the world. 

Founded as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, the organization has grown and evolved over the decades. In the late 1900s to early 2000s, the fraternity was referred to as Shriners of North America, given that chapters were in the U.S. and Canada. In2010, a resolution was passed to replace the name with Shriners International, reflecting the fraternity’s worldwide presence. 

Pyramid History

Pyramid Shrine was founded in 1878 and is one of the first established chapters of Shriners International (#9 of currently 198 worldwide) and is a shining example of our state's proud Masonic heritage.

Fun and Philanthropy is our credo and every year our fraternity gives its time, funds, and spirits to our most noble cause, supporting the Shriner's Hospitals For Children. 

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