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Since 1892

Naja Shriners

The history of Naja Shrine cannot be told without first telling the story of Shriners International.  The history of Shriners International is the story of individuals who came together in the spirit of fun and fellowship, who would lay the foundation for a worldwide fraternity and establish a globally recognized pediatric specialty health care system. 

In 1870, a group of 13 Masons would regularly meet at the Knickerbocker Cottage in New York City. Often, discussion turned to forming a new fraternity for Masons, based on the tenets of Freemasonry but with the added elements of fun and fellowship. While the fraternity’s first official meeting was in 1871 at the Knickerbocker Cottage, a meeting in 1872 established the first chapter, Mecca Shriners, on September 26. Today, there are more than 195 chapters in countries around the world.


Founded as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, the organization has grown and evolved over the decades. In the late 1900s to early 2000s, the fraternity was referred to as Shriners of North America, given that chapters were in the U.S. and Canada. In 2010, a resolution was passed to replace the name with Shriners International, reflecting the fraternity’s worldwide presence. 

125 years later

fun fraternity and 100 years of building better tomorrows for kids

Naja Shrine is a fraternal organization based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth.   We are one of over 195 Shrine Temples around the world, working together to promote these ideals.  Naja Shrine has attractive, quality programs and events for our members, their families, and their friends, focusing on fun and social camaraderie.   Locally, Naja Shrine supports and provides financial resources to our philanthropy, Shriners Healthcare for Children – Twin Cities.   Shriners Children’s provides high-quality medical care to all children, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.  Our clinic specializes in treating children with orthopedic conditions in an environment designed to put children at ease.   We also work with our other Shrine Clinics and Hospitals around the world which has become the largest pediatric sub-specialty healthcare system in the world.  To date, Shriners Children’s has helped over 1.4 million children world-wide.



naja temple is chartered in deadwood, sd

Shrine Temple in North America, Naja Shrine initially had a jurisdiction that encompassed all Western South Dakota, into Eastern South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Nebraska. As other temples were created, Naja’s jurisdiction has remained in Western South Dakota while we share the remainder of South Dakota with our sister temples of Yelduz in Aberdeen and El Riad in Sioux Falls.  Naja’s first Potentate was W.J. McMakin, who served through 1894.   


laying of cornerstone deadwood masonic lodge

July 18, 1900, the cornerstone of the Masonic Lodge and Naja Shrine Temple was laid at the corner of Main Street and Pine Street, Deadwood, SD. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of the oldest buildings in Deadwood.   It consists of 4 floors with the Lodge being located on the second floor and a grand theater on the third floor.  The elevator used in the building is the oldest operational elevator west of the Mississippi River.


Sol Starr becomes potentate of Naja shrine

Sol Starr was a historic figure in Western South Dakota and in the history of the West in general.   Sol came to Deadwood in 1876 with Seth Bullock and opened a hardware store supporting the gold rush to the area. Starr and Bullock partnered in many businesses, worked to bring railroads to the area and were instrumental in founding the town of Belle Fourche.  Sol Starr served as Deadwood Mayor for 14 years.  He also served in the SD House of Representatives and a State Senator.  Sol Starr was also instrumental in the establishment of the Deadwood Golden Star Lodge #7 of Free and Accepted Masons in 1877.  


First shrine hospital opened

The first hospital in the system was opened on September 16, 1922, Shreveport, LA, specializing in pediatric orthopedic care.   It was a perfect location for the first hospital as the surrounding communities were impoverished and medical care for children was critical due to the polio outbreak during that time.   Soon after, Shriners Hospitals for Children began working with the United States Southern Command to provide transportation to the United States for children in need.   Today there are 22 clinics and hospitals in the Shiners Children’s Healthcare System in North America (Canada, United States, and Mexico).   Shriners Children’s provides pediatric care for orthopedics, scoliosis, cleft lip and palate, spinal cord injury, acute burns, pediatric dentistry, ambulatory surgery, and pediatric plastic surgery.


Shriners hospital in the twin cities open

Since 1923, Shriners Children’s Twin Cities have had board certified surgeons and staff providing high-quality medical care to all children.   In recent years, they have transitioned to not only caring for their patients but have become one of the premier research facilities for pediatric orthopedics in the country. Their commitment to research helps find new and improved treatments and contributes to the world’s medical knowledge. 


naja shrine past potentate gerald crary elected imperial potentate

After serving as Naja’s Potentate in 1942, Imperial Sir Gerald Crary was elected to the Imperial Divan as Outer Guard in 1947.  To entice delegate support for his election that year, the Naja delegation offered South Dakota roast beef sandwiches to every representative at the Session.  During the feast, the supply of bread was exhausted, and a new supply had to be procured locally.  Where the day before the bread was selling for 18 cents per loaf, that day it was selling for over $1.00 to the dismay of the delegation.  However, enough funds were gathered, and everyone had their lunch.   Imperial Sir Gerald Crary was elected to the Imperial line and served for 10 years.  His Imperial Session was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the Sumer of 1957.


end of the term of the longest tenured recorder in shrine history

This year marked the end of a legend in Shrine history.   Noble Carl Kubler began serving Naja Shrine as it’s Recorder in 1912.  That year Woodrow Wilson was elected President of the United States and New Mexico and Arizona were admitted into the United States.  It was also the year of the sinking of the Titanic.  For the next 63 years, Noble Carl Kubler served as Naja’s Recorder.  During that time, he was also an emeritus member of the Imperial Council of the Shrine of North America.


Naja celebrates 100 years

That year was a very busy year for Naja Temple.  Besides having the 100th Anniversary, Naja hosted the Midwest Shrine Association Winter meetings in February and Summer Session in September in Rapid City, SD.  Under the leadership of Director General Bob Lewis, Assistant Director Alton Palmer, and the Nobles and Ladies of Naja Temple, the Summer Session was a huge hit among the Midwest Shrine Association.


Naja Celebrates 125 years

Again, Naja Temple not only celebrated 125 years of fun, fellowship,
and philanthropy in Western South Dakota, but hosted the Midwest Shrine Association Winter meetings in February and Summer Session in August in Deadwood, SD.   With Outstanding Leadership from Director General Gordon Parlet, Assistant Director Tom Nelson and all the Nobles and Ladies of Naja Shrine, the MSA Summer Session 2018 continues to be
regarded as the best shrine event in the upper Midwest in decades!


naja shrine becomes a charter member of the international shrine tap room

Naja Shrine, along with 20 other temples signed the charter starting the International Shrine Taproom Association.  The Association promotes and helps to develop Shriner Tap Rooms, Clubs, and Units.  Naja’s Tap Room Club is called Dead Man’s Hand, Taproom #21 – an homage to the history of Deadwood, Wild Bill Hickock, and gambling.  The Brewing Unit, which is part of the Dead Man’s Hand Club is called the Naja Brewers of the Mystic Shrine.