Shriner History Page 9

                                                                                 Shriners International Headquarters

   Until 1928, the Shrine’s national offices were in Richmond, Va. With the growth of the fraternity, there were increasing pressures to locate Shrine headquarters in some city that would be more convenient to all Temples. Thus, in 1958, the building at 323 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, was purchased. At a special Session held April 10th, 1978, in Tampa, Fla., representatives voted to relocate Shrine Headquarters to 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa. The Tampa headquarters houses the administrative personnel for both the Iowa (fraternal) and Colorado (Shriners Hospitals) corporations, fraternal and hospital records, the attorneys who monitor the many estates involved in Shriners Hospitals for Children, and the various other departments that support the day-to-day operations of the Shrine fraternity and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

   An expansion project was begun in 1987 to meet the ever-increasing needs of theShrine and Shriners Hospitals. A third wing, or pod, was added to the rear of the existing building, and the board room and executive offices for the fraternity and hospital system were relocated to the new area, allowing several departments to expand their offices in the original sections. The new, enlarged board room provides space for meetings of the Joint Boards and their committees, and for conferences.

   In 1993, the Commemorative Plaza was built, with its larger than life-size statue of a Shriner carrying a child. The statue represents what has become known as the “Editorial Without Words,” probably one of the best-recognized symbols of Shriners Hospitals for Children.

The polished marble plaza features a semi-circular wall engraved with the names of every Imperial Potentate (Chief Executive Officer) of the Shrine and his year served. In addition, below the statue is a cylindrical base engraved with the names of the 22 Shriners Hospitals and surrounded by a fountain. Around the fountain are large inlaid marble squares bearing the engraved names of each of the Shrines 191 Temples, each Temple’s city and state, year of incorporation and the Shrine insignia (the scimitar). To the rear of the Commemorative Plaza and in front of the headquarters building are four flag poles topped with flags of the United States, Canada, Mexico and Panama, representing the countries with Shrine membership.

   In early 1999, a major construction and renovation effort was begun that would add 35,000 square feet to the existing facility, bringing the total office area to about 120,000 square feet. This effort was initiated to accommodate the healthcare initiatives and trends taking place in the industry in the late 1990s. The exterior work came to an end in December 2001, with the installation of a three-dimensional 11-by-9-foot Shrine scimitar on the front of the building. The new windows on the building have a bluish- green tint, giving the building a different appearance than the gold tinted windows, which served as a landmark to identify the headquarters for two decades. On Feb. 24, 2002, the newly renovated Shriners International Headquarters was rededicated.