Ararat Shrine Temple was chartered by the Imperial Council Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, later to be renamed Shriners International, in 1888. Ararat was the 38th Shrine Temple to be granted a charter.

Many distinguished names are numbered among the members of Ararat Shrine. Our officers and members have always been among the community's civic, religious and fraternal leaders.

We are extremely proud that former President of the United States, Harry S. Truman was a member of Ararat Shrine for more than 50 years and previously served on our Divan. He later relinquished his position on the Divan to when he assumed the responsibilities of being a United States Senator.

 Ararat enjoys a unique position in Shrinedom in that we have produced more Imperial Officers than any other Temple. The first member of Ararat Temple to become Imperial Potentate in 1898 was also our first Potentate, Mr. Ethelbert F. Allen PP (1887-92). Mr. Allen also served as Grandmaster of Missouri Masons (1898-1899). The second Past Potentate of Ararat Shrine to become Imperial Potentate in 1924 was James E. Chandler PP (1911).

The late Frank S. Land PP (1931), who founded the Order of DeMolay, was the third past Potentate of Ararat Shrine to assume the title of Imperial Potentate.

W.W. (Woody) Bennett PP (1960) was the fourth past Potentate of Ararat to hold the position of Imperial Potentate in 1975. Dedicated to even further service to the Shrine, Woody was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees, the corporation that supervises and operates the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children. Bennett Auditorium at our Temple is named in his honor.

George M. Saunders, who served as Recorder of Ararat Shrine from 1935 to 1948 was elected to the position of Imperial Recorder in 1948 and served in that position until his retirement in 1980.

The first meetings of Ararat Shrine were held in the offices of Mr. Ethelbert F. Allen. Various meeting places have been used since that time. One was the Elks Hall at Seventh and Main in Kansas City. In 1880, the meetings were moved to the Armory at 15th and Grand. From there we moved to Strope's Hall at 15th and Central. The name Strope's Hall was changed to "Shrine Hall" and Ararat met there for almost eleven years. 

In 1901 the Temple was moved to a new building which later became the Kansas City Power and Light Company home. That same year Ararat Shrine was host for the Imperial Shrine Council Session and the meetings were held in the then called Standard Theatre, later known as the Missouri Theatre and now known as the Folly Theatre.

In December 1911, Ararat Temple moved into a building of its own at 12th and Prospect.

 In November of 1925 a new building was erected on the northeast corner of 11th and Central and was occupied until 1940. This building was later occupied by KMBC-TV9 and the Lyric Theatre.

Next, the entire fourth floor of the Hotel Continental in downtown Kansas City was leased as a Temple, and these facilities were used until 1945 when Ararat Shriners purchased the old American Hereford Building at the northwest corner of 11th and Central.

In 1971, 11.6 acres of land at I-435 and Eastwood Trafficway was purchased and Ararat Shrine moved to its present facilities in January 1975. The Addition of Bennett Auditorium was completed in 1979 becoming one of the finest Shrine facilities of the 191 Shrine Temples.

The Ararat Temple Name

Shriners International requires that all Shrine Temples adopt names of an Arabic nature. There is no official record of why the founders of Ararat chose this particular name. Mount Ararat, where tradition and the Bible say Noah's Ark landed, was once located in Armenia and is currently among lands controlled by modern-day Turkey.

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