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Shriners, Car Club Coming to Will Rogers Memorial
By Tourism Industry Partner
A plaque installed at Will Rogers Memorial many years ago will return to its rightful place March 10. The plaque on the outside terrace calling attention to Will Rogers’ long affiliation with the Akdar Shrine deteriorated and damaged part of the surrounding frame. It is being replaced and re-installed by the Tulsa Akdar Shrine.
It is fitting the rededication ceremony be combined with a visit from Route 66 Cruisers, according to Duane Caldwell and Paul Kelsey, members of both the car club and Will Rogers Masonic Lodge 53 in Claremore. Kelsey is a former Tulsa Adkar Shrine Potentate.
Wanda Jackson, Oklahoma Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who is presenting a benefit concert 7 p.m. Friday, March 11, at the Robson Performing Arts Center, will join Shriners and Cruisers at the Memorial Museum Thursday from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Free and open to the public, Ms. Jackson will be available to sign autographs and cut a pink guitar cake.
Concert tickets for the Wanda Jackson and Bill Holden concert are available through the Robson PAC at 918-699-7390 or www.MYTICKETOFFICE.com.
Ms. Jackson has been the subject of several special interviews in recent months, including the David Letterman and Conan O’Brien Shows as well as Rogers State University Television and Oklahoma Public Television.
Caldwell said Claremore Mayor Flo Guthrie will proclaim March 11 “Wanda Jackson Day in Claremore” and present the proclamation at the Memorial.
It is interesting to see how Will Rogers’ occupation evolved during his movement through the Masonic chairs.
On Jan. 21, 1905, Will Rogers petitioned to become a member of the Blue Lodge Claremore, listing his occupation as a “farmer”. On March 13, 1906 when he became a Master Mason, his occupation was “ranchman”. He became a 32nd Degree Mason on April 16, 1908 as a life member of the Indian Consistory.
On Oct. 11, 1914, Will petitioned for initiation and membership in Akdar Temple in Tulsa and on Feb. 3, 1915 began a life long membership. His occupation at that time was listed as “vaudeville performer”.
An exhibit in the Memorial Museum contains his petition for initiation into Claremore Lodge 53, membership application and Akdar Life Membership certificate and an Akdar Fez as well as a Memorial plaque dated 1945.
The Masonic Lodge laid the cornerstone when the Museum opened Nov. 4, 1938. The cornerstone is on the outside north wall near the fireplace.
Claremore Lodge 53 became Will Rogers Lodge in a renaming rite in 1979, the 100th birthday of Will Rogers.
Kelsey and Caldwell said Route 66 Cruisers has adopted Akdar as their “charity of choice.” Proceeds from the Wanda Jackson concert will go to transportation funds, used for “transporting kids to Shriner’s Hospitals”.
Route 66 Cruisers now number about 61 members who like to showcase their antique and classic cars. They plan a car show at Claremore Lake and swap meet at Will Rogers Roundup Club. They will cruise into the Will Rogers Memorial for the plaque dedication and guest visit from Wanda Jackson.
(Editor’s Note: John Little, a longtime Memorial employee, said a newspaper embedded in masonry beneath the Shrine plaque was dated 1938, indicating it may have been put in place when the museum opened.)