Date: c. 1940
Description: This fez was worn by a former Potentate of the Abu Bekr Shrine, founded here in Sioux City. The Abu Bekr is part of Shriners International, or the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, an appendant Masonic Order. Red fezzes like this one are one of the key defining factors of the Shriners. The Shrine was organized here in 1907 and originally included 30 Nobles just from Sioux City. The name was taken from Abu Bekr, a disciple of the Prophet Mohammed. Since its founding the Temple has expanded greatly, taking in members from much of western Iowa and parts of Nebraska and South Dakota. Originally the Temple was a rather small but still lavish building at Ninth and Nebraska Streets, but has since then expanded greatly to include an auditorium, dining hall, card room, Red Fez meeting room and parking lot. The Temple has also purchased many other properties along Eighth and Ninth Streets to expand, and some properties along Jackson Street as well. The Abu Bekr Shrine over the years has organized a Foot Patrol, a White Horse Mounted Patrol, and the annual Shrine Circus, all of which operate in Sioux City to this day. Abu Bekr has also made significant financial contributions not only to the city of Sioux City but to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children, a network of 22 pediatric hospitals who treat patients without any financial obligation from their families. The closest Shriner’s hospital is in the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
Abu Bekr is only one of the Masonic Orders that have been here in Sioux City. Numerous Orders have existed at some point through the years, from women’s groups like the Rebecca Lodge to the Morningside Masonic Temple. At one point the number of Masonic members in Sioux City numbered over 10,000, but many of these Orders did not last or were absorbed by Abu Bekr or the other major Order in town, the Scottish Rite Temple at 8th and Douglas. But these Shrines and Orders form an important part of our history and how our diverse population developed their own styles and clubs over the years.
Donor: Roger Dickinson