Most Americans are familiar with the Shriners, whether it is through their circuses, their fez hats, their miniature autos rolling by in parades or their charitable work operating children’s hospitals all over the country. What many may not know is that the Shriners are a Masonic organization—the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine were established in New York City in 1870. Their hospitals operate in 22 cities around the United States, offering free medical care for children afflicted with various congenital disorders. In front of many of these hospitals one can see a statue with a Shriner holding a small girl in one hand and a pair of crutches in the other. The story of this image tells a lot about what Shriners and Masons are all about.
Most people think of Shriners as those guys in little cars wearing funny hats. Or perhaps they think of the well known Shriners Hospitals for Children. However, the Shriners have a long history, dating back to the 19th century.
Of all the Freemason charitable organizations, the best known is the Shriners. The Shriners are famous for their vibrant parades and their work with physically challenged children. Indeed, there are currently 22 Shriners Charitable Children’s Hospitals in existence.
While many people know the Shriners primarily for their distinctive choice of headgear, there is much more to this unique organization that meets the eye. The Shriners are also known for their extensive network of charitable work, including the famous Shriners Hospitals designed and built to treat sick children at no cost to their families.