Shriners, or Shrine Masons, belong to Shriners International, formerly known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.) for North America. The Shrine is an international fraternity of approximately 300,000 members who belong to Shrine Temples throughout the world. Founded in New York City in 1872, the organization is composed solely of Master Masons, 32nd degree Scottish Rite Masons or Knights Templar York Rite Masons. The Shrine is best known for its colorful parades, its distinctive red fez, and its official philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children, which is often called “the heart and soul of the Shrine”.
Medinah was organized principally in the office of Noble Dr. Vincent Lumbard Hurlbut, on the third floor of 47 East Monroe Street in Chicago. Our dispensation petition and charter petition were ratified, our first potentate and divan were elected, and our first nobles were created and obligated in that office.
Noble Hurlbut was among the most prominent of Freemasons, having been a charter member of the Royal Order of Scotland’s The Provincial Grand Lodge U.S.A. in 1878 along with the legendary but controversial Illustrious Albert Pike, an original noble of Mecca Shriners in New York; Imperial Potentate Walter M. Fleming’s Shrine Deputy for Illinois; Grand Commander of Knights Templar for Illinois; Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the USA in 1871; and the owner of “one of the best private Masonic libraries in the country” until it was lost in the Great Fire, coincidentally also in 1871.