History

The following was taken from the 1936 Silver Jubilee Program commemorating the 25th Anniversary of Bagdad Temple:
 

A Bit Of History

By The Potentate
 
Algeria Temple of Helena, known as “The Mother Temple of Bagdad”, was founded March 28, 1888. This was 15 months before Montana was admitted to statehood. Algeria, at that time, was one of two temples located west of the Twin Cities. The other Temple was El Riad of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Affi Temple of Tacoma, Wash., was next to be founded, having been granted its charter August 1, 1888.
 
Therefore, during a period of 22 years Algeria held jurisdiction over the vast but thinly populated empire of Montana. Algeria Temple holds the unique distinction of being one of an half dozen temples where Shrine organizations held forth in territories; that is, where the Temple was organized and on hand to greet the new state in its swaddling clothes. Montana was admitted to the Union on November 8, 1889.
 
The first definite step for the organization of a second Shrine Temple in Montana were taken Sept. 30, 1910 by nine Nobles of Algeria, meeting through the courtesy of Noble O.L Dillenbeck in the office of the Parrot Mining company in the Hennessy building. O.L. Dillenbeck, G.A. Meyers, Chas. S Henderson, J. Benton Leggat, Ben E. Calkins, Elliot F. Farnham, Chas. E. Beebe, Jno. T. Backus and Wm. Chas. Austin were present. G. A. Meyers and Wm. Chas. Austin acted as chairman and secretary respectively. The decision of these Nobles at this time resulted in the calling of a second meeting of a large delegation of Shriners of Butte, Anaconda, Dillon and other southern Montana points in the Red room of the Masonic Temple on the evening of Oct. 27, 1910. G.A. Meyers was chairman and Chas. S. Bond, secretary.
 
The chairman appointed G. A. Chevigny, Norman W. Hick and Stephen P. Wright a committee to prepare the necessary petition to be presented to Algeria Temple at the regular November meeting, seeking its consent to the organization of the new Temple.
A third meeting, however, was found to be necessary. This took place Nov. 10, 1910, when the name Bagdad was unanimously chosen for the proposed new Temple. Alexander R. Currie was chosen first Potentate.
 
Algeria’s consent for the organization of BAGDAD having been given, an official petition for the Dispensation, signed by 212 Nobles residing in Butte and Southern Montana, was forwarded to the Imperial Potentate Fred Al Hines, Dec. 10, 1910. The petition for Dispensation having been grated, BAGDAD TEMPLE No. 125, A.A.O.N.M.S., U.D., was formerly instituted Jan. 24, 1911. The ceremonies of institution were carried out by Deputy Imperial Potentate Fred C. Schram, assisted by acting Imperial Marshal, Jas. H. Brown, Potentate of El Kalah Temple. BAGDAD TEMPLE was empowered to transact all business which might regularly come before it, and confer the Ancient Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine on all Novices who might be found worthy. BAGDAD TEMPLE was declared duly constituted and installed the following officers:
 
  • Alexander R. Currie, Potentate,
  • Emory H. Payne, Chief Rabban,
  • Gustave A. Meyers, Assistant Rabban,
  • Jos. E. Monroe, High Priest and Prophet,
  • Stephen P. Wright, Oriental Guide,
  • Chas. E. Beebe, Treasurer,
  • Norman W. Hick, Recorder.
 
Appointive officers were installed by Harry J. Rainsford, Potentate of Algeria Temple, as follows:
 
  • Wm. M. Montgomery, First Ceremonial Master,
  • Andrew D. Rose, Second Ceremonial Master,
  • John T. Backus, Director,
  • Jacob Albright, Marshal,
  • John L. Carroll, Captain of the Guard,
  • Homer E. Emerson, Outer Guard,
  • A.S. Christie, Alchemist,
  • John Widdicomb, Alchemist,
  • Chas. S. Bond, Captain of the Arab Patrol.
 
At the 37th Annual Session of the Imperial Council, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America, held at Buffalo, N.Y., July 11-12, 1911, the committee on Dispensations and Charters reported as follows:
 
Your committee on Dispensations and Charters, having given the matter careful consideration, respectfully recommend that a charter be granted to BAGDAD TEMPLE of Butte, Montana.
 
The report of the committee was adopted as read. The above action of the Imperial Council was the culmination of the efforts of Shriners residing in Southern Montana to establish a Shrine Temple at Butte, nearly all of whom had been previously created Nobles of the Mystic Shrine in Algeria Temple at Helena.
 
September 13, 1911, Imperial Potentate John Frank Treat, assisted by Harry J. Rainsford, Potentate of Algeria Temple, acting as Imperial Marsha and J. Benton Leggat, Past Potentate of Algeria, as Imperial Captain of the Guard, Norman W. Hick, Recorder, Pro Tem., constituted BAGDAD TEMPLE in the Masonic Temple, 314 West Park Street, Butte, according to the rules and regulations of that order.
 
The following officers having been duly elected and appointed were installed as the Divan of the “Baby Temple” and Potentate Alexander R. Currie was presented with the charter:
 
  • Alexander R. Currie, Potentate,
  • Emory H. Payne, Chief Rabban,
  • Gustave A. Meyers, Assistant Rabban,
  • Jos. E. Monroe, High Priest and Prophet,
  • Stephen P. Wright, Oriental Guide,
  • Chas. E. Beebe, Treasurer,
  • Norman W. Hick, Recorder
  • Alexander R. Currie, Potentate,
  • Emory H. Payne, Chief Rabban,
  • Gustave A. Meyers, Assistant Rabban,
  • Jos. E. Monroe, High Priest and Prophet,
  • Stephen P. Wright, Oriental Guide,
  • Chas. E. Beebe, Treasurer,
  • Norman W. Hick, Recorder.
 
BAGDAD TEMPLE prospered from it inception, with meetings well attended and enthusiastic. Ceremonial sessions were regularly held each spring and fall with a goodly number of Novices seeking the protecting dome of the Temple. The banner year for novices was in 1920, when the two largest classes were admitted to membership,  spring class was 122 members on  June 14, the other class was 126members on  Dec. 3.
 
The records of the new temple were neat and well kept by the first Recorder until his removal from the city in 1912, and equally well by his successors, J. Emery Rheim 1912-14, Geo. W. Hamlyn, 1914-15, Claude Doran 1916, and Fred P. Young 1917-26. Our present affable and efficient Recorder took over the duties of the office in January, 1927.
 
BAGDAD TEMPLE enjoyed rapid growth, and from the relatively small number of charter members reached a membership of more than 1400 in 1925. Due to the stress of the times for the past several years, which has seriously affected membership rolls of all similar organizations, the number dropped below 900 at the end of 1935.
 
BAGDAD has an enthusiastic membership with an efficient Divan, and there are definite indications hat our number will show satisfactory and healthy growth in the future.
 
Note:--We are indebted to our Past Potentate Noble G.A. Meyers for many of the interesting facts in regard to the forming of Bagdad Temple.
 
Note:--The Potentate that is credited for this article is H.W. Burton, 1936 Potentate of Bagdad Temple and from Butte.