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History of Shriners Children's Texas

Established: 1966

Shriners Children's history in Texas dates back to 1920, when the Arabia Temple opened what was then called the “Crippled Children’s Clinic” inside the Baptist Sanitarium in downtown Houston. Their efforts eventually led them to a home in the city’s medical center as a free-standing hospital that specialized in treating common to very complex orthopedic conditions.

According to his son, it was a chance meeting on a plane with a Shriner that his father, Truman G. Blocker, M.D., a surgeon who treated survivors of the 1947 Texas City Disaster and the University of Texas Medical Branch’s first president, that the idea for Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston was born. By 1959, a need for pediatric burn care was recognized in the U.S., and Dr. Blocker knew the Shriners were pioneers in children's health care.

In 1966, the Shriners opened the first of what would become four children’s burn care facilities in the United States on Galveston Island. Since then, the hospital has become world-renowned for its advances in the field of burn care through research and treatments, which have led to a dramatic increase in survival rates among burn patients.

After Hurricane Ike struck Galveston Island in 2008, Galveston's cleft lip and palate program moved to the Houston hospital to ensure patients would continue to receive care. For several years after that, the two hospitals continued to work together to provide services, such as prosthetics and orthotics, so their patients could receive the best possible outcomes and live lives without limits.

In January of 2021, the two Texas facilities consolidated together to become one as Shriners Children’s Texas. This collaboration of care in one location has already proven extremely beneficial to patients with burn injuries, orthopedic conditions, and cleft lip and palate.

Location Highlights

  • 1920s: Arabia Shrine Temple opens the first orthopedic clinic in Houston, Texas.
  • 1947: April 16 – "Texas City Disaster" was the deadliest industrial accident in U.S. history, which claimed the lives of at least 581 and injured over 5,000, mainly with burns.
  • 1952: Arabia Temple Crippled Children's Clinic opens.
  • 1962: July 4 – The joint boards resolved to provide burn care for children, and partnered with University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) to embark on the construction of their first burn hospital.
  • 1964: June 23 – Groundbreaking ceremony in Galveston.
  • 1965: May 12 – A cornerstone leveling was conducted by the Grand Lodge of Texas.
  • 1966: March 20 – Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston opens.
  • 1966: Arabia Temple Clinic joins Shriners Hospitals for Children, making it the 21st in the system.
  • 1992: Galveston opens a new, larger hospital across the street from UTMB.
  • 1994: The Houston hospital moves to the medical center in their new building.
  • 2021: Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston and Galveston consolidate and become Shriners Children's Texas in Galveston.
  • 2024: A 40-unit patient and family housing unit and four-level parking garage expansion is added to the Galveston property to better serve Texas’ growing patient population.

specialty pediatric care at shriners children's texas

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Burn Care

Shriners Children’s treats all levels and types of burns, including chemical burns, electrical burns and flame burns. Our pediatric burn care treatment plans are personalized and can include wound care, scar management and reconstruction.


Shriners Children’s provides the full spectrum of pediatric orthopedic care. It's everything from fracture care and casting for broken bones, to surgery and rehabilitation.

Cleft Lip

When a baby is born with a cleft lip, Shriners Children's team approach provides leading cleft lip surgery and addresses the entire range of concerns for parents related to cleft lip and alveolar cleft.

Cleft Palate

A cleft palate occurs when tissues that form the roof of the mouth don’t join together before birth. Shriners Children’s team care repairs and restores each child physically and psychologically.

Spine & Spinal Cord

At Shriners Children's, every family can expect our pediatric spine and spinal cord surgeons to provide compassion, respect and a treatment plan that utilizes the most current clinical and scientific research.

Sports Medicine

Shriners Children's provides pro-level care for injured young athletes in our sports medicine clinics. Seeing a doctor right away can stop an injury from getting worse and help avoid long-lasting damage.

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.