About

grottofez

Kismet Grotto was instituted on June 20, 1944. By appointment, the following served as first year officers until December 1945, when Kismet Grotto held their first elections...

George Magee - Monarch
Harold G Roha - Chief Justice
David Sleppy - Master of Ceremonies.

On Saturday, November 3, 1944, Kismet Grotto held it's first ceremonial with Grand Monarch, Harry H Baker and four other Grand Line Officers conferring degrees on the first 110 prophets of Kismet Grotto.

The Ceremonial was preceded by a parade. In the parade were prophets from all over PA and Ohio, along with the Grand Line Officers, officers of the Ohio Grotto Association, the Mayor of Meadville, Fred Whipple and Chief of Police, Ed Gibson.

Much of the history for the years 1944 through 1960 is lost and unfortunately, many of the members of that time frame are gone. It is know that money was tight and by 1962, only 60 members remained with very few active. Having fallen behind on the rent, Kismet assets were sold at a constable's sale... Kismet Grotto was without a home and many seriously considered turning in the charter. Some Grand Line Officers convinced the membership to keep Kismet alive. Through their support, the support of Kismet Grotto Officers and the dedication of Kismet members, our Grotto survived!

In 1971, Kismet formed their first ceremonial cast. Under the direction of O C Barnord, Kismet was the first of the tri-state Grottos to perform the condensed version of the full ceremonial.

Also in 1971, the first (a now famous) chicken BBQ was held at Randall's camp in Forest County, PA. Kismet Grotto's chicken BBQ is now a much loved favorite in NW PA!

In 1972, Hummell's Grove Picnic area was purchased. Now know as Grotto Park, it is a popular rental for parties and picnics, both large and small! In the same year, Kismet Grotto formed Mistek Club, Inc. as a management tool for Grotto Park.

In 1979, The Kismet parade unit expanded to include a clown unit with a few prophets, their ladies and children all putting on the makeup and having a great time. The parade unit now includes a float, a large and three smaller motorized Fez and the clowns!

1982 saw a Wishing Well placed at the local mall during the Christmas season. United Cerebral Palsy was the recipient of the $200 from the Wishing Well.
This year's Monarch's Ball was a great success with 170 members and guests present including 88 Prophets from other Grottoes.

1988 saw the start of the wheel chair ramp program. The first ramp was built for a member Prophet and since, many, much needed ramps have been constructed for both Prophets and local residents alike.

In 1991, Kismet Grotto won first place at the Supreme Council Convention for the opening and closing rituals. The following year, Kismet Prophets traveled 8,910 miles to Grotto events, enough to place third in the O.G.A. man-miles program. Kismet also won first place in the newsletter competition for Grotto's with members of 300 or less. Also in 1992, Kismet Grotto was honored by being asked to do the prologue and epilogue for the ceremonial initiation of two Masonic State Grand Masters and a 33rd degree Mason, comedian Foster Brooks.

1994 saw a sad event when newly elected Monarch, Carl McMahon passed before he had a chance to have his first meeting. Past Monarch, Tom Huson agreed to fill the void. This was the first time in Kismet history that a Monarch served more than one year.

Planning for the new Grotto Hall building started in early 1996. Letters were sent to members requesting input. With over 80% approval, construction began in October. Shilling Construction, owned by a Grotto member, handled the frame work while a group of hard working Prophets did the inside finish work.
Although not quite complete, the first meeting in the new hall was held in April of 1997 followed by the first Kismet ceremonial in May. Formal dedication for Grotto Hall was held on July 17, 1997.
In 1998, final finish details were completed and thanks to all the donations and hard work, Grotto Hall was completed, free of any debt!

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