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

“You can’t put a price on what we do, so we do it for free”


Shriners are known for their colorful parades, circuses, and clowns. But there is also a serious side to this international fraternity of approximately 262,000 men, belonging to 191 Shrine Temples or chapters throughout North America and the world of whom of which are all Freemasons.

For a little over 85 years, the Shrine has operated a world-class network of specialized hospitals that treat children with orthopedic conditions, burns of all degrees, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate, up to their 18th birthday, free of charge.

In 2015 Shriners own and operate 22 hospitals in North America and the world.

No Way! Free of Charge! But Why?

Shriner’s mission is carried out without regard to race, color, creed, sex or sect, disability, national origin or ability of a patient or family to pay. Shriners pledged to be the best at transforming children’s lives by providing exceptional healthcare through innovative research, in patient and family centered environment.
Shriners have to maintain a $5 Billion net worth operation;
Yes, I said $5 Billion – All Shriners at some point in their lives will put in a tremendous amount of charity work, all of course free of charge.

All Shriners have one thing in common; Priority to ensure that less fortunate children receive the treatment they need to live a normal life like everyone else in this world – As one esteemed brother put it; “you can’t put a price on what we do, so we do it for free”.

So why do we do what we do for Kids?

How do you become a Shriner?

by Zuhrah Shriners
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