One hundred sixteen nobles have served the Temple as Potentate and our 1951 Potentate, O. Carlyle Brock, served as Grand Monarch of the M.O.V.P.E.R. (Grotto) of North America and as Imperial Potentate of the Shriners International from July 24, 1964 to July 16, 1965.
Zem Zem's uniformed units have brought fame and honor to the Temple, our City, our State. They have performed from coast to coast and from border to border, representing the Temple at Imperial sessions and at Mid-Atlantic conventions. Many of Zem Zem's units perform at civic and special occasion parades and any prize monies are turned over to our Erie unit, Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Zem Zem Temple is one of the few Shrine Temples who operate their own children’s hospital. Local Shriners started a “sunshine camp” just southwest of our current location where they took patients from Hamot Hospital to this fresh air facility and returned them to Hamot near days end. This camp provided several things – more love, more sunshine, and more fresh air. Following that program the Shriners involved raised enough money to erect a structure on Strong estate property where the Erie hospital unit now stands. The Zem ZemNobleswere finally able to bring pediatric orthopedic care to our little patients at our own facility.
Zem Zem Shriners were able to hold on to this facility until it became obvious that future growth of our hospital could only come from becoming a part of the National Hospital Program of Imperial Council.The growth after the Erie facility became a part of the Shriners hospital family has been fantastic and our hospital continues to be a state of the art facility. It serves not only Zem Zem's nine county area, but it includes ShrineTemples in Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the Province of Ontario in providing the best hospital care in the world. We applaud all Zem Zem Shriners for their support of our hospital effort.
Continuous activity has seen the Temple grown to its present value of approximately 2.8 million dollars, and from a brass band and a marching patrol to eighteen uniformed Temple units and ten Shrine clubs through Zem Zem's nine county jurisdiction. The Temple’s first jurisdiction ceremonial was held in Bradford, June 14, 1894. The initiation fee in those early years was thirty dollars and dues were four dollars per year.
It has been a glorious past but in applauding the first 125 years, let’s look down the road to the thousands of Shriners who will be Zem Zem Temple for years to come. Zem Zem has grown from a handful of members to the current membership of twenty-one hundred plus, even though like most fraternal organizations, membership is in decline. The enthusiasm has never wavered and we have strong feelings that Shriners International is the finest fraternity and philanthropy known to men. Zem Zem has one of the finest facilities in all Shrinedom with our Mosque, a beautiful dining room and entertainment areas that can look with favor on the unit, man and the Shrine club member and where they have brought us. They are the heart and soul of the Temple and Zem Zem has a room full of trophies to prove it. While sure that all of the 195 Temples have wonderful units; but when Zem Zem units compete and perform they always seem to turn it up a notch, and no doubt, the many thousands who see our window on the world will agree with this fact.
To those Shriners who came before us, we salute and thank them for our foundation, not built on sand, but on solid ground. To those who will follow into Zem Zem membership, we are sure you will bring the same dedication, purpose of effort and vitality to your years of service as those who have gone before you.
We are sure that men of courage, men of honesty, with strong character, morals and standing in society will continue to provide the leadership to justify our faith in those who will follow us. May God continue to bless and inspire us with wisdom and judgement.