Scimitar Foundation INC. is a 501(c)(3) corporation approved by the Internal Revenue Service to accept tax-deductable donations. It is organized solely to benefit and perpetuate diversified use of Tripoli Temple. In early 1986 our property was entered into the National Register of Historic Places by the Secretary of the Interior.
Our building is architecturally a near replica of the famed Taj Mahal in India. Since 1928 its unique design has dominated the skyline of the city of Milwaukee. Especially drawing attention is the 30-foot-diameter dome topping the entrance pavilion and covered with four colors of glazed tile – and graced with a copper finial more than 11 ½ feet tall. This main dome is flanked by two small ornamental domes, while miniature minarets rise from the four corner buttresses. A monumental staircase, ornamented with a pair of recumbent camels and two solid bronze and Georgia Creole Marble lanterns rises to the south entry.
As depicted in the accompanying photos, the interior of our headquarters is as lavishly ornamented as the exterior.
The foundation is responsible for the restoration and maintenance of our Mosque, guaranteeing that it will continue to be a valuable asset to us, our community and the entire state. Although Tripoli Shrine was chartered in 1886, it was not until 1926 that a committee was formed to build a home for our organization. Property was purchased at 30th Street and Grand Avenue (now Wisconsin Avenue) and Clas, Shepard and Clas was retained to develop plans. Construction was soon begun by Bentley Brothers; the ornate tile work was done by V.F. Durner Company.
More than 3,500 Nobles subscribed over $250,000 to supplement the cash resources of the Temple. When the building was dedicated, it had been entirely paid for!
We have a rich heritage to preserve. Shrinedom traces its beginnings back to the 1870s when the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine was formed as a fraternity of Masons in which fun and fellowship are dominant. Many noted men have been affiliated with our fraternity. Just a sampling includes President Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Gerald R. Ford, Barry Goldwater, Alexander Wiley, Melvin B. Laird, Lee Dreyfus, John J. Pershing, Douglas MacArthur, James Doolittle, Eddie Rickenbacker, Norman Vincent Peale, Irving Berlin, Paul Whiteman, Vincent Lopez, Cecil B. DeMille, Harold Lloyd, Red Skeleton, John Wayne, the Ringling Brothers, Jack Dempsey, Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke, and Eddie Mathews.
Importantly – Our headquarters is more than just a location for business offices. It provides the accommodations from which we can carry on a wide variety of programs that affect thousands of people – adults and kids alike. Included among the better known events are the Circus held every February, the Midwest Shrine Game and our work on behalf of the Shriners Hospitals for Children. But let’s not the good things accomplished by our Shrine Clubs that serve 20 communities and the 27 Units that range from the Animals, Clowns and Chanters to the Highlanders, Hillbillies, Legion of Honor and Motor Corps.