THE OSIRIS Shrine and other Shriners are known for “Helping Children and Having Fun!” However, they do so much more.
By helping children with certain medical conditions, the Shriners change the lives of youngsters for the better, and the improvements might not have been possible otherwise.
The 23 Shriners Hospitals for children date from 1922, and these “provide innovative orthopaedic, spinal cord, burn and cleft lip and palate care,” rescuing more than 1 million children, regardless of the families’ ability to pay.
According to the Shriners’ website, the hospitals provide “innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education.” These facilities in the United States, Canada an Mexico offer advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.
On a lighter note, the Shriners also bring smiles to the faces of all types of children and adults through their participation in area parades.
THE OSIRIS Shrine, located in the Elm Grove section of Wheeling, also makes a special contribution. Since 1926, it has maintained and improved Monument Place, once a plantation house which dates from 1798, and both presidents and statesmen have been guests there.
An outstanding feature of the mansion is a ballroom, not a usual addition to a house constructed in the Ohio Valley during the 1700s. Its original owners, Moses and Lydia Boggs Shepherd, made the majestic house a place for dignitaries and others to mingle and sometimes to discuss matters important to the nation.
The Shepherds were friends with U.S. Sen. Henry Clay who sometimes stayed at the mansion while traveling from his home in Kentucky to Washington, D.C. Clay’s support resulted in the National Road being constructed through Wheeling rather than Wellsburg.
THE SHRINERS in addition to the Alonzo Loring family, who formerly owned the house, maintained it and constructed additions. Two additions constructed in the early 1900s are matched with the original stone blocks of the Georgian mansion.
In “The Shepherds and Their Mansion” by David T. Javersak, it was noted that one historian wrote that the Shriners bought it so “that history might be preserved.”
Those who attend an open house today and Monday at the mansion will be cognizant that the Shrine has fulfilled that goal well.