At its creation, the structure boasted the largest auditorium west of the Mississippi and the second largest stage, right behind the New York Metropolitan Opera Theater. The Saracen, or Moorish, architecture is unique to the area and was the creation of Springfield architects – Heckenlively and Mark. The auditorium can sit 3,200 and the lower level event area can hold 1,300 participants. The building has been host to numerous community events including Circuses, Telethons, War Bond drives, Revivals, and Presidential visits (Truman, Roosevelt, and Reagan)! Additionally the facility has had an eclectic range of performers on the beautiful stage from the Vienna Singers to Elvis Presley (surprisingly a poorly attended concert) to modern performers such as the Blue Comedy Tour and Rob Zombie.
The fraternal organization the “Abou Ben Adhem Shriners” created deep roots in this community and Missouri prior to the first brick of the historic shrine ever being placed. The term ‘Abou Ben Adhem’ is translated from Arabic meaning “May His Tribe Increase!” – A name taken from the Leigh Hunt (1784-1859) poem “Abou Ben Adhem”. An apt name for the structure, as its community role and service has increased over the decades!
The lower level also boasts a fantastic collection of Shriner and City of Springfield historic items in the Shrine Museum – uniquely located in a 1920s bank vault. In the museum, one will find historical images, Shriner uniforms, articles, and play bills among other unique items. A true treasure trove of historical artifacts! The growth of the exhibit continues as the service of the Abou Ben Adhem Shriners to the community occurs year after year.
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.