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History of Shriners Children's Erie

Established: June 26, 1927

"Sunshine Valley Camp" is where the Shriners Children's Erie story begins. In the summer of 1924, a cottage was built along Lake Erie to treat 12 children to a summer of sunshine, good food and physical therapy. The evolution from a summer cottage for 12 to a state-of-the-art pediatric orthopedic healthcare facility spanned a period of 95 years. Those years of birth, growth and change began with a suggestion from a young Erie woman, Elizabeth Milne, which was acted on by local Shriners in the same spirit that prevails among them today.

The success of that first summer greatly enthused the Nobility of the Zem Zem Temple. At a Ceremonial held on October 30, 1924, Noble Isador Sobel introduced a resolution to "build and maintain a convalescent home for crippled children." Zem Zem unanimously adopted the resolution and construction began in October 1925, under Potentate Emil E. Knoblach. A completed Zem Zem Hospital for Crippled Children was dedicated on June 26, 1927, caring for children with polio, tuberculosis and hip dislocation. As the incidence of polio and tuburculosis decreased, the focus of the hospital's treatment program broadened to meet the needs of other children in the area. In 1967 the hospital joined the national network of Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Location Highlights

  • 1924: Summer – Sunshine Valley Camp, October 30 – Zem Zem Resolution
  • 1925: October – Construction begins
  • 1927: June 26 – Zem Zem Hospital dedicated
  • 1957: December – First rheumatic fever patient
  • 1967: Joined Shriners Hospitals for Children system
  • 1971: Major expansion included physical therapy department, two operating rooms, recovery room, outpatient waiting room, administration offices
  • 1976: Added scoliosis screening
  • 1984: Major expansion – outpatient clinics, medical records, brace shop, parent housing, new children's wards, child life department
  • 1994: October 9 – $2 million expansion
  • 2012: April 24 – Transition to ambulatory model
  • 2020: Transitioned all surgeries to affiliate locations

specialty pediatric care at At Shriners children's erie

View More Erie Care Options

Radiology and Imaging

Shriners Children's radiology and imaging services are a noninvasive way for physicians to see what's going on inside a child's body. Our radiology and imaging professionals work to do this in the safest way possible.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists at Shriners Children's help kids be as independent as possible, focusing on what is important to them and what they love to do in their daily lives.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy at Shriners Children's helps children build confidence and strength, focusing on what is important to them and what they love to do in their daily lives.

Speech Therapy

The speech therapy services available to patients at Shriners Children’s benefit children from birth through adolescence who have difficulties with communication and swallowing.

Motion Analysis

The specialists in Shriners Children’s motion analysis centers collect and analyze movement-related data, like gait analysis, to help treat children with neuromuscular, acquired or congenital disorders.

Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services

Shriners Children’s Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services designs, fits and manufactures orthotics and prosthetics for children from infants to young adults.

We Understand the Unique Medical Needs of Children

We provide vital, pioneering treatment from birth to age 18. Here, children have the opportunity to be evaluated and treated by doctors recognized as the best by their peers.