History of Al Sirat Grotto No. 17
In the year of 1904 Charles L. Gibson, while visiting in Buffalo, New York was initiated in Zuleka Grotto no. 10 of that city.
He immediately conceived the idea that what was good for Buffalo was also good for his home city, Cleveland. On his return he arranged for a meeting in the banquet room of the Hollenden Hotel.
This meeting took place on October 31, 1904. Grover W. Wend, at the time Grand Monarch and the Chairman of the ritual committee, and Albert T. Letle were present on invitation of the assembled brethren which numbered about twenty.
After a brief sketch of the Grotto by the visiting brothers, the following named Brothers William H. Bogue, F. C. Brainard, G. D. Clark, John H. Cox, M. M. Daniels, W. G. Hallenbeck, C. T. Heisel, George W. Hook, F. E. mcKean, T. C. Morganweck, Henry Pears, J. L. Schneider, Frank D. Skeel and J. C. Vanderweif, signed an application for a Dispensation which was issued by the Grand Monarch and the above named Brethren were made Veiled Prophets.
Prophet Charles Gibson was made Special Deputy and became acting Monarch under dispensation.
The records show that the next meeting was held on November 12, 1904. At this meeting a class of thirty-eight were duly initiated.
At the next session of the local Grotto, which up to this time had not selected a suitable name, Prophet Henry Pears suggested the name of “Al Sirat" which was adopted.
After the naming, Al Sirat continued to grow and on December 5, 1904, Prophets from Zuleka Grotto No. 10 of Buffalo visited Cleveland and put through a class of 107 candidates.
On October 6, 1905, the Supreme Council granted a Charter to Al Sirat Grotto with its number “17". Al Sirat No. 17 was duly constituted on December 12, 1905.
By 1921, Al Sirat Grotto had attained the distinction of having the largest membership of any Grotto in the world at nearly 6,000 members.