The History of Zuhrah Shriners

Zuhrah (which means “flower” in Arabic) was the 23rd Zuhrah Shriners to receive a charter.  In 1885, there were only 18 Shrine Centers.  Most of these centers were in the Northeastern United States.  The only western centers were in Chicago, Davenport, and San Francisco.

In 1886, charters were granted to nine new centers, in the cities of Providence, Louisville, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Washington D.C., Cedar Rapids, St. Louis, St. Paul, and Minneapolis.  Charter numbers were presented in alphabetical order of the Shrine Center name, although we were one of the first charters to be submitted that year.  At the Imperial Session in Denver in 2011, the Nobility voted to add 1 more Shrine Center, and make Shriners a truly International Organization.  Shriners International now boasts 194 Shrine centers, located in the United Stated of America, Canada, Mexico, the Republic of Panama, Puerto Rico, Germany, and the Philippines.

The early records of Zuhrah were earlier thought to be lost or destroyed but when our offices were moved in 2011, we found the original handwritten meeting minutes from our early years.  We know that the first meeting was held in the Masonic Hall on 118 Hennepin Avenue.  Seven Brothers attended that first meeting.  When the charter was formally presented a year later, there were 24 Brother’s names listed.  We can only account for 23 of them.  John A. Schiener, who owned and operated a book and stationary store in downtown Minneapolis, was the leader of this group.  He was elected as our first Potentate, and served in that capacity for five years from 1885 to 1890.  He was very active in all Masonic bodies, and was a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason.

Zuhrah moved from the old Masonic Hall on 118 Hennepin Avenue to the West Hotel and then into the Masonic Temple building on 6th and Hennepin.  In 1929, the facilities at 2540 Park Avenue were purchased.  The beautiful, ornate mansion was owned by the Van Dunes – Harrington lumber family, and was purchased from them for $25,000.  The 2010 property taxes were more than 3 times that amount.  In 2011, Zuhrah Shriners sold the Park Avenue facility and temporarily moved its storage and administrative functions to Fridley, MN.  Zuhrah Shriners bought a new location in December of 2014, and held our first Stated Meetings at the new location in 2015.  Our official address is:  Zuhrah Shriners, 6120 Blue Circle Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55345.

The first uniformed marching unit in all of Shrinedom across all of Shriners International was our own unit of the Zuhrah Patrol.  We can be most proud that all the color and pageantry of the Shriners as was started by a unit of our own Shrine Center.

Three of our members have become Imperial Potentates.  In 1907, Charles E. Ovenshire, head of the nationally known Minneapolis knitting mills, became Zuhrah center’s 15th potentate.  He served as Imperial Potentate in 1917.  Zuhrah’s second Imperial Potentate was A.A.D. Rahn.  He served as Zuhrah’s Potentate in 1922 and 1923.  During Potentate Rahn’s tenure as Potentate, the Twin Cities Shrine Hospital was completed and the first patient was admitted.  The Women’s Auxiliary was also organized during his term of office.  Potentate Rahn served as Imperial Potentate in 1938.  Zuhrah’s third Imperial Potentate was Warren F. Weck, Jr.  He served as Zuhrah’s Potentate in 1967 and as Imperial Potentate in 1978.

by E. T. (Tom) Fjelde

Zuhrah Shriners, Past Potentate of 1987

Superheroes of Summer Safety

Safe Summer

Summer is a time of playground fun, swimming, boating, biking, camping and other outdoor activities. Unfortunately, these activities can lead to a higher risk of injuries.

Shriners Hospitals for Children wants to reduce the risk of childhood injuries by asking everyone to become Superheroes of Summer Safety.

Learn more about Superheroes of Summer Safety on Shriners Hospitals’ website.

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May News

The May 2016 Arabian is now available!

A message from our Potentate:

To quote the late, great Herb Brooks: “Great Moments … are born from Great Opportunity” Those of us remember the 1980 Olympic games and the “Miracle on Ice” or have seen the movie “Miracle” where the USA hockey team made history by taking an opportunity and creating a great moment by winning the Gold Medal.

Zuhrah Nobles and Ladies, we are fortunate to have opportunities that with our determination and action can realize great moments in Zuhrah’s history.

First opportunity is the Ma’Ceo Equestrian show. John Andersen, PP and Tim Davison brought the fund raising idea. Olissio Zoppe, Ma’Ceo creator, came to us rather than stay with the Minnesota Horse Expo.Then we found that Canterbury Park has always wanted to help the Shriners. They were also looking for another event to have during opening day of racing at the park. Thousands attend the racing event every year. Zuhrah Shriners have a new opportunity as an additional major fundraiser.

Second opportunity is participating with our philanthropy, Shriners Hospital for Children – Twin Cities. The Coins for Camps program and the Hospital Shoot on the 30th are raising funds for the kids’ camps. The Inaugural Hospital Gala on the 20th of May to raise money for a new “state of the art” scanning machine. Hospital day on the 21st of May lets everyone enjoy our Hospital Campus and see how we help kids. These are great opportunities for our philanthropy.

Lastly we purchased 6120 Blue Circle Drive. We now have a home and a new opportunity.We have had many great moments and will have many more with socializing and celebrating Zuhrah’s 130-year history. We are going to be open the 3rd Thursday for dinner and fun. Then celebrate our 130 years as Zuhrah Shriners on June 12th.

But what do we need? YOU! We need you; we need your club and unit. There are opportunities to attend or work at the Ma’Ceo show. Attend Hospital Day and the Gala. Raise money for the hospital. Decide what events happen at our NEW FACILITY.

This is a call to action nobles and ladies. We need you to attend and socialize. Bring your friends and family. We also need to move forward with our facility and we need your ideas. What events interest you? What do you want to see and do?

Isn’t every moment great because of Shriners?

We are Zuhrah – We Make A Difference

Your humble servant,
Adrian Skytland 2016 Potentate