The Great Parade of the Nobles of Murat

It was the morning of November 11, 1918, and Jacoby was on business in New Orleans. Outside his hotel window church bells began to ring, horns honked and people cheered. The report was "All quiet on the Western Front." The war to end all wars was over. Jacoby jumped on the phone and began changing plans for the Imperial Session to be held in Indy in June of the following year.

The word went out officially on February 1, 1919. Elias Jacoby wanted to return the nobles of the Mystic Shrine to the fun of the pre-war days. His motto was "Shake with Jake." Jake invited every band, patrol, and noble to come to Indiana and parade for the Glory of the Shrine and Masonry. The nobles responded. The post-war euphoria helped set the stage for two of the most important events in Shrine history, and they happened under Murat's jurisdiction in Indianapolis.

June 9, the old Union Station, that now saw the passing of more than 200 trains a day, was bustling with the arrival of Shriners. The old National Road brought an assortment of cars from the East and West, and U.S. 31 was jammed from the North and South. Jake's Imperial session was getting underway. It seemed like there was a band or some form of entertainment on every corner. The red Fez was everywhere. Every participating temple brought something new to the city.

Jake also decided on a night parade. As it stepped off, 5,000 nobles in costume and 2,000 others in Fezzes and regalia began what was to be called "THE PARADE." Just try and imagine the moment—cheering crowds, happy nobles and their ladies, wonderful colors, and endless entertainment. When it was over, the Indianapolis News reported, "There are conventions and conventions but only one Shiners' Convention. It is unique, unsurpassed and unsurpassable, inimitable, incomparable, sovereign, unparalleled, supreme."

While the parties rolled on, Imperial got down to the business of the session out at the fairgrounds. As the end of business was approaching, Philip D. Gordon, a noble from Karnak Temple in Montreal, offered the suggestion that the Shrine do some humanitarian work. That short offering, without any discussion or debate, would grow into the establishment of the then Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children. The new Imperial Sir, W. Freeland Kendrick from Lu Lu Temple and mayor of Philadelphia, picked up the idea and ran with it. In 1922, the first hospital was opened in Shreveport, LA.

With the great show at the 1919 session and the hospitals a dedicated humanitarian purpose, the Shrine grew even more. Potentate John E. Milner bought more ground adjacent to the temple and theater for a great ballroom. Jake Jacoby's daughter, Helen Eaton Jacoby, had a knack for décor and began work with architects Rubush & Hunter to build the new addition. Helen conceived an Egyptian motif in keeping with the Arabic themes of the Shrine. She saw and created the Egyptian Room with hieroglyphics and drawings found in ancient palaces and tombs near Thebes. Part of the newly decorated Murat opened on December 15, 1922, and the rest was dedicated March 24 the following year. A great historical moment occurred between the design and the opening. While work was being completed at Murat, thousands of miles away Lords Carter and Carnarvon discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamen in Egypt. It was the only such tomb that had not been pillaged and produced great treasure. The Egyptian style was now in fashion. But Helen Jacoby figured it out well before the discovery. Murat was a fashion plate.

The twenties ushered in Prohibition. A Shriner without a drink was not possible. Many made bathtub beer. Several Indiana counties totally ignored the new amendment and produced some fine sippin'. Noble Eddie Rickenbacker, who earned the Medal of Honor in the Great War, bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The new Scottish Cathedral opened at the corner of North and Meridian Streets in 1928. In 1929, with the crash of the stock market and the Hoover Depression, the country slowed. The nobles decided to start Starlight Musicals to provide a distraction from so many losing their jobs. Again the winds of war were blowing around the world. The pace of Masonry in general slowed as the men and leaders of the time focused on more important duties.

In 1937, our Potentate and Recorder were on the road working for Murat. Illustrious Sir Edwin Earle Temperley and Charles S. Barker, who had served as Recorder for 21 years, were killed in an automobile accident. A bespectacled man with a fluff of hair surrounding his head and combed back, small eyeglasses, and a smile that would light up the room, Karl Friederichs became the Recorder. Karl was popular with the many stars who performed at Murat and he possessed a large collection of autographed photos on the walls of his quarters. In these difficult times of 1941, it was once again Murat's turn to host the Imperial Session.

The weather in Indiana was miserable. It was time for the great Shrine Parade as a part of the Imperial Session. Torrents of rain fell. The streets cascaded with small rivers of water looking for a drain. The banners that welcomed Shriners from cables strung over the streets and trolley tracks below were soaked. Imperial Sir William Heim of Lu Lu Temple in Philadelphia doubted there would be a parade. He didn't count on the resolve of Murat Potentate Dewey Myers. Myers had smiling eyes and a wonderful attitude. "We're not going to disappoint the crowd," he said. "We march!" He rolled up his pants legs above his socks and marched off. Despite the weather the crowd was huge. Myers wanted to show off Hoosier hospitality and boy did he. The parade was a success. All the Murat units marched. The crowd used anything they had to shelter themselves from the rain and cheered the nobles of the Mystic Shrine forward.

Again war slowed the pace of fraternal activities. The young noble lieutenants of WWI were now generals. Noble MacArthur led the forces in the Pacific. Noble Bradley directed the field operations in Europe. Many nobles made the supreme sacrifice but in 1945 the world was saved from the tyranny of the Nazis.

The Children's Hospitals became even more important. They were the primary mission of the Shrine. The nobles of Murat looked for more ways to raise money. How about a circus? The idea took hold and the Murat Shrine Circus began in 1946. Murat needed someone to lead this project who was well known and respected. Noble Harry Geisel had just retired as an umpire from major league baseball and the American League. Geisel was well known in the city. He had umpired four World Series and three All-Star games in his career. He was personal friends with Lou Gehrig andBabe Ruth. He was tall and impressive and wore a white hat as a trademark. Under his guidance the Murat Shrine Circus opened in the theater in 1946. The tight rope was strung over the crowd and anchored to the balcony. The elephants paraded on the stage. It was a huge success. Geisel remained the chair until becoming Potentate in 1953.

Between the theater and the Egyptian Room, Murat was now "THE" meeting place in Indianapolis. It was popular for luncheons, banquets, and exhibitions. In fact, it was so booked that the Shriners were taking a back seat. Max Blackburn, Potentate in 1949, solved the problem. An apartment building owned by the temple was remodeled. The structure adjacent to the Egyptian Room addition now had a kitchen and a series of rooms and storage areas for all the uniform bodies. The Arab Patrol, Band, Chanters, Cast, Ceremonial Directors, Gun Club, Highlanders, and Oriental Band all now had their own space.

That same year saw the Great Lakes Shrine Association organized. Marshall Springer, Potentate in 1950, invited the GLSA to hold its first Ceremonial Session in Indianapolis September 8 and 9, 1950. The 8th was the last day of the Indiana State Fair and the gathered 15 temples marched on the fairgrounds track and gave concerts throughout the day. That night they paraded up Central Avenue and across 38th Street to the fairgrounds. Some reports say that parade rivaled the Imperial Session. The next day Noble Wilbur Shaw, a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and now president of the Speedway, arranged a demonstration race and rides around the track.

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John A. Cinotto

John A. Cinotto of Westfield, IN, was the 90th Potentate of Murat Shrine. He is currently serving his seventh year as a member of the Board of Directors for Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children. He was re-elected during the Shriners' 2009 annual international convention – or Imperial Council Session – held in San Antonio July 5–9. He serves as Imperial High Priest and Prophet, part of the 13-member body that helps govern the Shriners fraternity. John serves on the Special Purpose and Fundraising Committee and the Buildings and Equipment Committee and is chairman of the Material Management Committee and the Educational Seminars Committee.

John has been in the construction business for 42 years and owns CDS of Indiana, an acoustical company. He is a past director and board member of the Interior Construction Association of North America and a past member and director of the Construction Specification Institute. He attended Joliet Junior College and Lewis College.

John was raised a Master Mason at Pentalpha Lodge #564. He is a member of the York Rite and was honored with the 33rd Degree of the Scottish Rite. He has held numerous offices, including president of the Reception Unit, chairman of House and Grounds, chairman of the Murat Indy 500 weekend, and Circus chairman. In the Shrine Circus Association, he has held the positions of president and secretary. He is a member of the DeMolay Legion of Honor and the DeMolay Foundation. He is also a Past Chief Supreme Officer in the Order of Quetzalcoatl.

In his community, John served as president of the Nora Little League. He was also on the Mayor's Committee on Renovation of the Murat Theater. An Eagle Scout with three Palms and an Explorer Silver Award, he was glad to serve as neighborhood commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America.

When he's not performing his Masonic or community duties, Cinotto can be found horseback riding or saltwater fishing. He also spends his free time with his wife, Margaret, his three children and three grandchildren.