Shriners of Oleika Temple paraded in Danville

Published 9:35 pm Friday, May 17, 2019

Editor’s note: Information for this article was taken from The Advocate-Messenger archives. The photo belongs to Betty Denham. It belonged to her grandfather Burtice Reynolds Sr., who was a Shriner and lived in Perryville.

Shriners of the Oleika Temple in Lexington with their wives and friends spent an evening in Danville in June 1924 where they were welcomed by the local Chamber of Commerce and residents.

Members of the Oleika patrol and band were dressed in their bright uniforms of red and green, according to an article in The Advocate-Messenger.

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A special train decorated with Oleika Temple banners and carrying 110 people arrived from Lexington in late afternoon on June 12,1924.

Local Shriners were at the train station to welcome their guests and marched into town behind the band.

Frank Powell carried the American Flag as he led the procession.

The Shriners paraded through Main Street to Second and returned to the Elks Club and disbanded.

Col. I.M. Dunn, chairman of the committee on arrangements, welcomed the visitors on behalf of the mayor, city council, and Chamber of Commerce.

John G. Cramer, manager of the Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, responded to Dunn’s welcome, and said he owed a great deal to Danville as it was here that he met his wife (Vienna Berry Cramer). He thanked the Shriners and others for the fine reception.

Post Potentate Dave P. Eastin of Lexington praised the city and county for “its splendid citizens, fine homes and hospital.”

He talked about the six hospitals founded by the Shriners for crippled children. He also invited the local Shriners and families to attend the barbecue and picnic slated by the Lexington Oleika Temple at the Lexington fairgrounds in July.

After the women took a sightseeing trip around the city, they were entertained at dinner in the park.

An elaborate buffet supper was given at the Elks Club in honor of the men in the party.

The Shriners patrol, led by W.D. Vanderpool, drill master, and captained by Fred Bryant, gave an exhibition on Main Street in front of the Elks Club. Members of the patrol went through a series of difficult maneuvers in perfect step and were given a great ovation by a crowd, estimated at 1,500 people lining the street.

S.R. Griffith, band director, lead the band as it performed while many people danced on Main Street.

“Although the band had been organized only one year, it is one of the best ever heard” in Danville, according to the newspaper article.

Several young men, including Melvin and Bertram Veatch of Danville, were members of the band.

The party returned to Lexington later in the evening.

Two gathering in 1925

Local Shriners attended a celebration in Lexington on April 1925 at an initiation of 75 candidates as Shriners.

Danville Shriners T.C. Blackwell, John R. Yeager, I.M. Dunn, F.M. Powell and J.A. Robinson were on the “Glad Hand” committee which welcomed 1,200 Shriners and guests. L.B. Conn, John Tunis and Nick London of Danville attended the ceremony and C.T. Veatch Jr. and Homer Wallin of Danville played in the band.

More than 4,000 people were on hand for a performance in Danville by the Oleika Mystic Shriners of Lexington in September 1925. The Shriners brought their band, patrol and large number of followers to a gathering. Food was provided in ample proportion to the guests at the Elks Club.

The band played and the patrol formed and began intricate marches.

“The Shriners were much impressed by the decorated city. They said they had been to a number of adjoining towns to Lexington, but none had been decorated and none had extended a more warm welcome than Danville, through her Shriners.”