The Tripoli Shrine, an architectural replica of India’s Taj Mahal, is home to all Shriner activities in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. The Shriners, founded in 1872, is an organization of Master Masons. This is an international fraternity of over a half million members that belong to 195 Shrine Centers worldwide. Shriners, although known for colorful parades, circuses and clowns, have a very serious side. Since 1922, the Shriners have supported and operated a network of 22 specialized hospitals providing orthopedic and burn care to children, regardless of ability to pay.
The architectural firm of Clas, Shepard and Clas designed the building by drawing on North African Muslim prototypes thought to best exemplify the Shrine ritual. Built over a period of 2 1/2 years, the entire project, including land, building and furnishings, cost $616,999.61. The temple officially opened in May 1928.
Two distinctive French limestone camels grace the south entrance, welcoming travelers and guests up its monumental stone staircase. The dome is one of the most impressive features of the mosque. The beautiful painting is exactly as it was originally done and is an exquisite example of Saracenic art.
The Tripoli Shrine Center, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, is one of Milwaukee’s most unique landmarks.