The Shrine, or more properly the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.), was founded in New York City in 1872 by Billy Florence, an actor, and Walter Fleming, a physician. The idea was to create an appended fraternal body that would provide a fun outlet. In 1870, several thousand of the 900,000 residents of Manhattan were Masons. Many of these Masons made it a point to lunch at the Knickerbocker Cottage, a restaurant at 426 Sixth Avenue. At a special table on the second floor, a particularly jovial group of men used to meet regularly.
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