The growth in the activities and membership of the Harrisburg Masonic Shriners had by the end of the 1920's, resulted in the demand for a grand new facility. The emergence of Italian Lake Park, William Penn High School and the establishment of Polyclinic Hospital on N. Third Street had aesthetically transformed the northern end of Harrisburg into a place of prestige and beauty. To punctuate this beauty would be the rise of the Zembo Shrine Temple, between 1928 and 1930, the design of which would represent the culmination of Harrisburg architect Charles Howard Lloyd's (1873-1937) career. Lloyd, perhaps the City's most prolific architect, was known for his schools and office buildings. He designed such Harrisburg notables as the Technical High School (now Old City Hall), and Simon Cameron School and William Penn High School. Although the Harrisburg Masons were originally headquartered in the Grand Opera House at Third and Walnut Streets, which was destroyed by fire in 1907, and later at the Masonic Temple at Third and State Streets, now the Barto Building, the Masons' Zembo Temple chapter which was established in 1905, would ultimately seek its own building expressing its own identity. The mid-eastern themes traditionally associated with the Shriners since their founding in New York City in 1872 were captured by Lloyd within the context of Art Deco styling in the new facility. Adorned by a minaret tower, elaborate tile work and dazzling interior spaces opening to a majestic auditorium, the Temple has long been the stage for famous personalities, events and performances of national and international acclaim.
1931 aerial view of the recently completed Zembo Shrine Temple (center) and emerging Uptown and Riverside neighborhoods.
Circa 1945 postcard view of the Zembo Shrine Temple from Italian Lake.