THE HISTORY OF THE
This page contains a history of the
written by Ralph Haas
Norwin Lodge No. 2313, Southwest District
Last revisions made November 16, 2001
Tens of thousands of
By way of explaining the use of letters to designate Lodges, it seems the
founders of our great Order envisioned 26 Lodges, enough for each Lodge to
receive a designation corresponding with a letter of the alphabet. This
"Alphabet" Lodge identifier meant that the
However, Arthur O. Moreland, who assumed the office of Grand Secretary in 1881, was quick to recognize that the growth of the Elks would not be ending with the expected 26 Lodges, and Moreland began the process of putting a stop to the letter designations for Subordinate Elks Lodges.
In presenting this history of the
Like most of the readers of this history, many of our present Lodges came
into being when the things we all take for granted now: automobiles, buses, air
conditioning, professional sports, telephones, radio, TV, and more, were
unheard of conveniences. In fact, to illustrate the growth of the nation as it
paralleled the spread of Elkdom here in
There is a clearly defined criteria for beginning an Elks Lodge, and a community must have at least 5,000 residents to start the process. With this requirement met, three more specific steps are required, the first being a "Dispensation" by B.P.O.E officials; this is the Order's written approval to begin a Lodge in any area.
The second step, "Institution," is the date on which a newly formed Elks Lodge officially begins operating, leaving the "Charter" as the third important date in starting a Lodge. These dates can be less confusing when you know that, for many years, the Lodge Charter was issued only during the first Grand Lodge Session after a Lodge's Institution. It was here that the Grand Exalted Ruler officially approved those Lodges "Instituted" within the previous year; however, this practice caused much confusion and even arguments once a Lodge reached its 100th Birthday and needed to know the correct date. So which date is correct when a Lodge approaches that once-in-a-lifetime 100th birthday? The following paragraph may clarify it for the reader.
All Elks Lodges "Instituted" at until 1959 will more than likely note a glaring discrepancy in their "Institution" and "Charter" dates; the confusion resulting from the fact that a Lodge might wait mere days to nearly a year for the next Grand Lodge Session. During the period between 1959 and 1972, all newly formed Lodges waited only two to six weeks for the Charter when that task was given to the Grand Secretary's office. From 1972 on there is no such confusion; the Lodge "Institution" and Lodge "Charter" dates are the same.
Thus, while any Lodge formed after 1972 will have the same Institution and Charter dates, in all Lodges began before 1972 the "Institution" date is the "Official" Birthday, not the "Charter" date; and certainly not the "Dispensation" date. The beautiful Grand Lodge 100th Anniversary Plaque is going to bear your Lodge's "Institution" date, and for this reason we strongly urge all Lodges approaching their 100th year to contact the Grand Secretary's office and make sure you're celebrating on the correct date. This is a one-time-only event for any Lodge, so make sure you do it on the day you were born as an Elks Lodge, not several months after the fact.
With that question resolved, we want you to know that the history of Elkdom here in Pennsylvania is unique within the Order: not
only did we begin establishing Lodges at the same time as New York Lodge No. 1,
but the American Civil War had ended only five years earlier. This meant the
The latter, "Tony" Pastor, officially acknowledged by entertainment historians as the "Father of Vaudeville" in America, actually lent the Order $150.00, the sum needed to purchase the first Elks Grand Lodge seal. Brother Tony Pastor also served as Chairman of the Board of Grand Trustees in 1876-1877 and he remained a valued and dedicated Elk for the rest of his very productive life.
While it's true that the New York Lodge No. 1 and our Philadelphia Lodge
No. 2 were given their "Dispensations" just one week apart, it was on
March 10, 1871, that the New York Legislature granted the Elks the power to
charter Lodges. However, the
To honor the great event in
As far as the
It wasn't long before the great
Unfortunately, the once-opulent location fell prey to inner city blight
over the years and the
Incidentally, the above title of "Exalted Grand Ruler" used by Brothers Powell and Maguire of the Philadelphia Lodge, was changed to "Grand Exalted Ruler" in 1890 with the installation of Simon Quinlan of Chicago Lodge No. 4 at the Grand Lodge Session in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Philadelphia Lodge No. 2, also the home Lodge for Grand Exalted Rulers
William G. Meyers in 1895-1896 and Charles H. Grakelow
in 1926-1927, has staved off the wrecking ball twice since 1987, and it remains
functional as the Salvation Army Women's Shelter. As you will see in the
Elkdom began in
The automobile in this state was nearly three decades down the road in
1871, and Elkdom in
On July 3, 1871, the exciting Jesse James robbed the Corydon,
The B.P.O.E., at age three, quickly rendered financial assistance to the loss, and aided in the preservation of other priceless historical artifacts that had been damaged by the flames. The real purpose of the Elks, helping others, hadn't taken long in showing itself.
On November 6, 1871,
As Elkdom began its second year in
In 1874, the Exalted Ruler at the Philadelphia Lodge, as did those in all Elks Lodges, began wearing the new Elks regalia, Comprised of a purple velvet collar with a small, fawn colored roll and an outlined five-pointed star, the star had an Elk's head and crossed gavels situated behind it, while two smaller stars at each side were entwined with vines and there was a gilt edge on the collar.
Our present system of District Deputy Grand Exalted Rulers began in 1874,
and members of the
In 1875, Thomas A. Edison perfected a new invention for printing small
newsletters, calling the contraption a "mimeograph, and a nine foot tall
clock, made by craftsman David Rittenhouse of
Norristown for Joseph Potts, gave us a song that lives on to this day. Although
the big clocks were already 200 years old, the huge mechanism was nicknamed the
"Grandfather" clock in a popular little ditty of the day written and
performed by a
We must also mention that the Initiation Ritual of today is vastly different from the Initiation performed within our Lodges in those early days, with the early minutes of several Lodges, among them Monongahela Lodge No. 455 and Ashland Lodge No. 384, describing the now-solemn ritual in a far different vein. Early candidates also found that a physician's certificate of examination was necessary as a part of the joining process, and the male prospect had to be in top condition to even be considered. Then, once the candidate met that criteria and was in the Lodge room, he was blindfolded, and instead of dimmed lights and beautiful words, he was subjected to much horseplay. These fun-filled shenigans gave rise to a popular poem of the times appropriately entitled "When Father Rode The Goat."
When Father Rode the Goat
The house is full of arnica, and mystery profound;
We do not dare to run about or make the slightest sound.
We leave the big piano shut and do not strike a note;
the doctor's been here seven times since father rode the goat.
He joined the lodge a week ago; Got in at 4:00 a.m. ----
And sixteen brethren brought him home, though he says that he brought them.
His wrist was sprained and one big rip had rent his Sunday coat ----
There must have been a lively time when father rode the goat.
He's resting on the couch today! And practicing his signs ----
The hailing signal, working grip, And other monkeyshines;
He mutters passwords 'neath his breath, And
other things he'll quote ----
They surely had an evening's work when father rode the goat.
He has a gorgeous uniform, All gold and red and blue ----
A hat with plumage and yellow braid, And golden badges too.
But, somehow, when we mention it, he wears a look so grim;
we wonder if he rode the goat ---- or if the goat rode him!
The minutes of the Ashland Lodge No. 384 describe in detail of their candidates wearing shoes with lead soles designed to make the wearer walk as though intoxicated. The Ritual Book that spells out other trickery, with members agreeing with the Exalted Ruler's declaration that the candidates be "shaved." Once this decision was made, a "City Barber" appeared to the blindfolded candidates whereupon, with a dull file simulating a straight razor, he literally scraped the faces of the men to "shave" them. A few other jokes, all of which were contained in the Ritual Book, described each ordeal in great detail, such as "walking on broken glass," actually egg shells, and it even mentioned how to end the "horseplay" session with real guns, loaded with blanks, being fired off behind the now-weary and very confused new members.
Philadelphia No. 2 was still our only Pennsylvania Elks Lodge in 1876
when inventor Alexander Graham Bell made his first public showing of the
"telephone." This event took place at the
In 1877, the "Molly Maguire" members were infiltrated by a
Pinkerton agent hired by railroad magnate Franklin B. Gowen,
and labor violence also hit Western Pennsylvania in the form of a railroad
The year 1877 brought us Henry Graham's little song entitled "The
Elk Schottische," a tune that was distributed in sheet form by music
publisher Matthias Gray in
However, with the development and refinement of recordings, radio and TV came the inevitable and unfortunate end to such expensive Lodge organizations; yet in today's society, quite a few Elks still feel they were simply born too late to enjoy those times!
The B.P.O.E. boasted a total of 820 members nationwide at the time, and
On December 14, 1879, with forty Elk delegates in attendance at the Grand Lodge meeting in New York, Exalted Grand Ruler L.C. Waehner officially approved and presented the Lodge Charter for Pittsburgh Lodge No. 11, currently the Pennsylvania Elks oldest active Lodge. We also wish to point out that the Pittsburgh Lodge preceded electric lights in Pittsburgh by three years and the first Exalted Ruler at Lodge No. 11 was W.W. Clark, with William H. Myers as Leading Knight, Harry Ellsler as Loyal Knight and Thomas S. Spear as Lecturing Knight. The Secretary was James H. Carmack, with Treasurer George Learch, Tiler Walter Davis and Inner Guard J.H. Pettsley.
As 1880 began, John S. Cox, mentioned previously as a dedicated member of
the Philadelphia Lodge, composed a beautiful melody entitled "The Elks
Overture," again in honor of his brothers in Lodge No. 2. This beautiful
tune, published by J.W. Pepper of
It was in 1881 that one of our Order's biggest beneficiaries, the
American Red Cross, was founded by a former Civil War Nurse, Clara Barton. In
1867, Clara had been part of the team that identified all but 400 of the nearly
13,000 northern citizens who perished at the infamous "Andersonville"
The future of all Elks in
This new "Tuxedo" was evident when our
It was on August 21, 1887, just ten days before the
A native Reading athlete, George Washington Bradley, while playing for
St. Louis, pitched professional baseball's first perfect game in 1887, doing so
against Boston, and America's first Golf Club opened at Foxburg,
Pennsylvania, a site that remains open to this day. The
In Bradford, Pennsylvania, Ella M. Boyce was named School Superintendent in 1887, becoming the first female in the nation to hold such a post, and 204 Elk delegates gathered at New York City's Grand Lodge Session. The representatives heard Exalted Grand Ruler Hamilton E. Leach, a member of the Washington, D.C. Lodge No. 15, approve the Charters for Erie Lodge No. 67 and New Castle Lodge No. 69.
The Altoona Lodge No. 102 joined Elkdom on October 6, 1888, under the leadership of Exalted Grand Ruler Hamilton E. Leach, and just one month later in Pittsburgh, on Thanksgiving Day, Charles Hall and Vining Davis gave America its first aluminum at their shop at 28th and Smallman Streets in what is now Pittsburgh's "Strip District."
In 1888, the Order stood at 8,952 members, and during the next year, 1889, B.P.O.E. pioneer Charles A.S. Vivian's remains, carefully exhumed from his sadly maintained grave at Leadville, Colorado, were reburied in the beautiful "Elks Rest" section of the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Boston, Massachusetts. This was the culmination of the efforts of several Lodges to give the acknowledged founder of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks a decent burial and eternal rest in a fitting and proper environment.
Also in 1889, Brother Allen O. Myers of the Columbus, Ohio, Lodge No. 37, introduced his resolution at the Grand Lodge Session in which he requested that the first Sunday of every December be known as Elks Memorial Day to honor departed members. Future Elks and their ladies would benefit from an 1888 invention by Theophilus Van Kannel of Philadelphia, when he installed his first revolving door, while the brides of Pennsylvania found a new way to find their wedding gowns when the first Bridal Salon was opened in 1889 in Pittsburgh by the Carlisle family.
The year 1889 brought great expansion for Pennsylvania Elks Lodges, with the Wilkes-Barre Lodge No. 109 being Instituted on January 31 1889; Reading Lodge No. 115 on March 10, 1889; Franklin Lodge No. 110 on March 21, 1889; Easton Lodge No. 121 on April 7, 1889; Scranton Lodge No. 123, the home Lodge of PGER Carlon M. O'Malley, on May 5, 1889; Allentown Lodge No. 130 on August 12, 1889; McKeesport Lodge No. 136 on September 26, 1889; Lancaster Lodge No. 134 on September 29, 1889 and Greenville Lodge No. 145 on November 22, 1889.
The Franklin Lodge No. 110 was instituted by members of the New Castle
Elks Lodge No. 69, with Thomas McGough, their
acknowledged "founder" as Franklin's first Exalted Ruler. Our
The Grand Lodge records also show an Easton Lodge No. 918 being Instituted in the spring of 1904, but becoming defunct on June 14th, 1904, the date the Easton Lodge was restored to its present designation as Lodge No. 121. The Allentown Lodge, home of Grand Exalted Ruler Lawrence H. Rupp who served us from 1930-1931, went out of operation on March 4, 1977, and the McKeesport Lodge No. 136 members merged with the Pittsburgh Lodge No. 11 in July of 1997. Nationwide, the Elks membership in 1889 stood at 10,549 when Simon Quinlin, a member of the Chicago, Illinois, Lodge No. 4, was elected at the New York Grand Lodge Session as the last man to hold the title "Exalted Grand Ruler." The following year, Quinlan was reelected and thus held the first title of "Grand Exalted Ruler."
Pennsylvania has to hold some kind of Elk longevity record in the person
of William S. Gould of Scranton, who was born when the Order was founded in
1868. Bill Gould served as our State Secretary for 46 years, a post he left in
the late 1950's, however, Gould was also racking up 64 straight years as the
Secretary at the Scranton Lodge No. 123 at the same time. He finally, and
somewhat grudgingly we might add, relinquished his Lodge responsibilities to
become the Scranton Lodge "Secretary Emeritus," an event that took
place just six months before his death in 1962 at age 94. However, that
faithful Elk, Bill Gould, was around in 1889 when all future Elk "Social"
Sessions found a great ally with the invention of aspirin in
In 1890, the year that Christmas was finally given the official status as a National Holiday in America, the legendary Sioux Chief, "Sitting Bull," was killed in fighting at Grand River, South Dakota; and our Butler Lodge No. 170 was Instituted on June 18th, 1890. This was followed by the Williamsport Lodge No. 173 on July 5th and the Johnstown Lodge No. 175 on October 21st. Lodge No. 175 was formed after the great Flood of May 31, 1889, a tragic event that also marked the very first time the B.P.O.E. made a contribution to victims of disasters on a nationwide basis; until then, local Lodges helped only within their own communities.
Of the Lodges formed in 1890, the
In 1891 the Elks continued the growth spike, with
The Bethlehem Lodge No. 191 was Instituted on March 31, 1891, while the
Hazleton Lodge No. 200 began operating on April 28, 1891 and the Kittanning
Lodge No. 203 on May 5, 1891. The Kittanning Lodge members established their
first club rooms on the third floor of the
The first Hazleton Lodge meeting was held in the Hazleton Union Hall,
with DDGER J.B. Borland ably assisted by members of Philadelphia Lodge No. 2.
The Installation Ceremony conferred degrees to the following: Alvin Markle, John R Leisenring, H.B.
Casselberry, F.M. Brundage,
Our great Pottsville Lodge No. 207 was Instituted on June 22, 1891; the York Lodge No. 213 on July 10, 1891; the Tyrone Lodge No. 212 on July 14, 1891 and the Meadville Lodge No. 219 on November 11, 1891. Nationally, the Elks membership stood at 15,472, and the South Bethlehem Lodge, declared defunct on July 10, 1918, was restored as Bethlehem Lodge No. 191, with our Pottsville Lodge 207 closing it's doors permanently on October 8, 1993.
Minutes retained from 1891 at the Tyrone Lodge No. 212 show their Lodge Secretary receiving $40.00 annually for his record keeping, and the Tyrone Lodge Tiler received fifty cents on the nights he was on duty. Among the more active members of Lodges Instituted in 1891 was Edward S. Orris of Meadville, and he served as Grand Treasurer from 1896-1902, while the main Grand Lodge action in 1891 was a defeat of a motion to extend our Order to areas outside the United States.
The present Chair Officer designation was adopted in 1891, and a young
Our Warren Lodge No. 223 was Instituted on March 30, 1892, with Bradford
Lodge No. 234 coming along on April 27 and
Our beautiful Flag Day Ritual was written in part by William Hargest of the Harrisburg Lodge No. 12, and in September of
1892 the original 23-word Pledge of Allegiance appeared in the "Youth's
Companion" Magazine published in Boston, Massachusetts. Inventor Joshua Pusey, a resident of
In 1892 that the Grand Lodge adopted the Forget-Me-Not, Amaranth and Ivy
for use at funeral services for our members. The
The year 1893 found the
The Sunbury Lodge No. 267 was Instituted on July 11th, and just ten years
before the Elks settled in Sunbury, an event that took place on July 4, 1883,
that gave the city great distinction: they became the first municipality in the
nation to successfully use Thomas A. Edison's three wire electric lighting
system. Edison himself stayed there while he personally directed all aspects of
the project at Sunbury's City Hotel, now the Edison Hotel, and the Edison
Electric Illuminating Company was located at Fourth and
In 1893 the Elks had swelled to 21,844 members nationwide, and the Grand
Lodge Session, held that year in Detroit, Michigan, saw GER Astley
Apperly of Louisville, Kentucky, Lodge No. 8
presiding over 243 Elk delegates from 264 existing Elks Lodges; with the Order
voting to ban Sunday meetings after 1893. Our
With 1895, in addition to the progress in our Order, came a strange twist
to Elkdom here in
The "Punxy" Lodge received its
charter from was then known as the "Rump Grand Lodge" at their
A few months later, once the pay and duties hassle had been resolved at the top and we were once more operating as one Grand Lodge, orders were sent to Punxsutawney Lodge No. 301 via the District Deputy that they would have to surrender their charter and be absorbed by Punxsutawney Lodge No. 299; this action stemmed from the rule that a community could not have more than one Elks Lodge operating at any one time.
Unwilling to conform to the Grand Lodge, members of Lodge 301 steadfastly
refused to discuss disbanding, a seemingly unsolvable dilemma that festered
until the membership of Lodge No. 299 surrendered their charter. Thus, the
In 1895, a German scientist, Wilhelm K. Roentgen, discovered an
electronic phenomenon that he called the "X" Ray, doing so simply
because he had no idea what it was. And the future of all Elks would change
when George B. Selden of
In 1895, the Elks ceased the use of aprons in their initiatory work, and by 1902 the use of a badge was eliminated, with the secret grip falling by the wayside in 1904 and the "Test Oath" removed in 1911. Perhaps these changes were received with the same trepidations we've seen in recent times with the proposals to change our long-standing Initiation Ritual.
It was in 1896 that the American Flag was first used on Elks Lodge altars
along with the Bible and Antlers, and in
Pennsylvania's Elk members welcomed seven Lodge Institutions in 1896: Renovo Lodge No. 334 and Allegheny Lodge No. 339 on March 9, 1896; Oil City Lodge No. 344 on May 15th; Beaver Falls Lodge No. 348 on June 8th; DuBois Lodge No. 349 on June 29th; Mount Carmel Lodge No. 356 on December 18th and Shamokin Lodge No. 355 on December 30, 1896. At Beaver Falls, the Institution at the Pythian Hall was led by Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler Glasser, with Exalted Ruler J. F. Bixby of Rochester Lodge No. 283; Leading Knight J. B. Wickery of Allegheny Lodge No. 339; Loyal Knight H. A. Burke of Trenton, New Jersey, Lodge No. 305 and Lecturing Knight F.L. Robinson of Rochester Lodge No. 283.
The Secretary was William G. Lee of Pittsburgh Lodge No. 11; the Treasurer was J. J. Hoffman of Rochester Lodge No. 283; the Esquire was P.J. Mahoney, also of Rochester Lodge No. 283 and the Inner Guard was J. H. Schlagle of Rochester Lodge No. 283. Acting as Tiler for this initial meeting was J. A. Kelly of McKeesport Lodge No. 136; with J.F. McFarland of Allegheny Lodge No. 339 as the Organist and F.L. Williams of Rochester Lodge No. 283 as the Chaplain. The first Beaver Falls Lodge officers were Exalted Ruler J. A. Elliott; Leading Knight Joseph H. Irons; Loyal Knight E. O. Bert; Lecturing Knight H. J. Watson; Secretary J. B. McGown; Treasurer J.R Martin; Tiler W.A. Eckles and Trustees J. T. McClure, Fred Mitchell and C.W. Klein.
The Renovo Lodge elected E.T. Swain as the first Exalted Ruler in the town's GAR Home, with John B. Smyth as Leading Knight, George O. Miller as Loyal Knight and Fred Kirby as Lecturing Knight. The first secretary was J. Harry Rooney, the first Treasurer was James Mills and the Tiler was John W. Forster. Trustees were E.J. Power, Joseph M. Darragh and John D. Farrell.
Of these seven 1896 Pennsylvania Lodges, all are still operating except the DuBois Lodge No. 349, whose membership surrendered their charter to the Grand Lodge on May 6, 1975.
In 1896, a member of the Harrisburg Lodge No. 241, Meade D. Detweiler, succeeded PGER Meyers of Philadelphia in the
only time Pennsylvania has had back to back Grand Exalted Rulers. On May 30,
1896, "motorist" Henry Wells, operating a Duryea "Motorwagon," hit a cyclist, Eurelya
It was in 1897 that the Travelers Insurance Company issued the nation's
first automobile insurance policy, and a young athlete, John J. McDermott, won
the first running of the Boston Marathon; the first such race to be held in
The "Jolly Elks" from Allegheny Lodge No. 339 installed thirty-eight Charter Members of the Apollo Lodge in the Diamond Hall on Fourth Street, with banquet held in the Opera House on Warren Avenue.
This event was followed by an all night social session in the Warrendale Club Rooms of the
On September 22, 1897, John Rowe addressed 24
PGER Meade D. Detweiler of Harrisburg was sworn in for another year as GER in 1897 by 358 delegates representing 36,515 members at the Grand Lodge Session in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and of the Lodges that began in Pennsylvania that year, the Pittston Lodge No. 382 forfeited its charter and became defunct on January 31, 1981.
Another Elk tradition began in 1897 with the creation of the common Elk
greeting, "Hi Bill," and Charles Edward Ellis of Chicago Lodge No. 4,
in his 1910 book, "THE AUTHENTIC HISTORY OF THE BPOE," tells us
where, when and how this Elk tradition started. The term originated in the
person of William Goddard, a member of the
Naturally, "Bill" Goddard spent a great deal of his time at the Elks Reunion Committee headquarters, and when visiting Elks inquired about a variety of matters they were told innocently enough to simply "Go over there and ask Billy Goddard." This constant refrain was repeated so incessantly that the numerous Elks who had to approached William Goddard greeted him with, "Hi, Bill, I was told to see you about so-and-so." Thus was born the Elks treasured custom of greeting other members with a cheery "Hi, Bill!" It is indeed that simple and lives on today more in the titles of numerous Lodge Newsletters.
In 1898, William McKinley, a veteran of the American Civil War, became the first president to ride in an automobile, a Stanley Steamer, and our great Blairsville Lodge No. 406 came into the world of Pennsylvania Elkdom on February 23rd, followed by Bloomsburg Lodge No. 436 on April 21st; St. Marys Lodge No. 437 on April 27th, and Monongahela Lodge No. 455 on December 12, 1898.
Thirty-four charter members of the Bloomsburg Lodge, which is the only
incorporated TOWN in Pennsylvania, met in the Grand Army Hall in the Dentler Building on West Main and, following the
Institution Ceremony led by DDGER P. F. Gunster of
Danbury, CT, Lodge No. 120, elected Irvin A. Snyder as the first Exalted Ruler.
The Bloomsburg Lodge members moved to their present site, the former
It was November 21, 1898 that G.E.R. John Calvin granted a dispensation
to Harry T. Howe, George Meyer, Jr. and William Parkerton
Warne to form Monongahela Lodge #455. On December 12, 1898, in Landesfield's Hall, the Monongahela Lodge #455 was
The world was a busy place in 1898, with an
During the year of 1898, GER Meade D. Detweiler,
a member of the
It was also 1898 when the first Pennsylvania-built automobile, the
"General Electric," appeared on the streets of
In 1899, the "
In 1899, the Order stopped using passwords to gain admittance to Lodge
meetings and our Chester Lodge No. 488 received its Institution on May 4, 1899,
followed closely by Jeannette Lodge No. 486 on May 10th and Charleroi Lodge No.
494 on May 25th. The
It was also during 1899 that dictionaries listed a foodstuff called
Pennsylvania saw the institution of Clearfield Lodge No. 540 on January 30, 1900, and the historic Cumberland County town of Carlisle welcomed Carlisle Lodge No. 578 on May 30, 1900. The following day, the Wilkinsburg Lodge No. 577 began serving Elkdom, while Tamaqua Lodge No. 592 was Instituted on June 15th; Chambersburg Lodge No. 600 on June 28th; Johnsonburg Lodge No. 612 on August 15th and Lebanon Lodge No. 631 on November 29, 1900; it was a good year in Pennsylvania Elkdom.
In 1900 the log boom on the Susquehanna River at Williamsport was the largest lumber pile in the world, and nationwide the year 1900 found the Elks with 77,351 members and Jerome B. Fisher of Jamestown, New York, Lodge No. 263, serving as GER. Fisher was elected at Atlantic City, New Jersey, by 622 Elk delegates, an average of one each from the 602 Lodges in the Order at that time.
Our Tarentum Lodge No. 644, one of two Allegheny County Lodges not in the Metropolitan District, began operations on January 23, 1901, just a few days before the Homestead Lodge No. 650 opened its doors on January 31st. The Lewistown Lodge No. 663 was Instituted on February 28, 1901, followed by Mahanoy City Lodge No. 695 on May 22nd; Norristown Lodge No. 714 on June 30th; Waynesboro Lodge No. 731 on October 23rd and Danville Lodge No. 754 on December 30, 1901.
The Mahanoy City Lodge No. 695 shows a charter membership of 31 members
in 1901: John W. Phillips, Oliver C. Lewis, Dr. A.P. Seligman, George J. Post,
Alvin A. Albright, George W. Brill, James J. O'Hara, Charles F. Kaier, David L. Thomas, Richard Geary, J.A. Selimman, Frank F. Reed, Dr. J.H. Hagenbuch,
H.G. Reitzel, H.A. Swalm,
Charles E. Butler, T.C. O'Connor, L.F. Mouellessaux,
R.L. Heiser, John Goyne,
Dr. Paul B. Dunn, John Williams, Jr., H.C. Swartz, Charles O. Smith, D.L.Van Horn, Leon E. Lewis, Harry E. Smith, Reuben F.
Burley, A.B. Schierer, Issac
Ball and Samuel P. Phillips. John Philips was elected as
The ceremony for the
All are still viable Lodges in our great
But with progress comes new problems and the City of Pittsburgh was the
scene of a tragic "first" when, on April 17, 1901, Ralph Gibson, an
eleven year old boy, was killed by an automobile while crossing Grant
Boulevard. The vehicle was being driven by another city resident, W. S. Arbuthnot, and these two individuals had the dubious
distinction of being involved in
On May 31, 1902, the Order dedicated the first Elks National Home, the
former Hotel Bedford in
The first Exalted Ruler at the
It was 1903 when, following the Institution of Canonsburg Lodge No. 846
on April 20th and Carnegie Lodge No. 831 on April 27th, Elks Lodge No. 866 was
Instituted at Williamstown in
The first officers at the Canonsburg Lodge were Harry P. Jones as Exalted Ruler, Howard L. Cockins as Leading Knight, Frank Buckley as Loyal Knight and George Johnson as Lecturing Knight.
Our West Chester Lodge No. 853 began operation on May 21st, 1903, followed by Ridgway Lodge No. 872 on June 19th; Mount Pleasant Lodge No. 868, the home Lodge of PGER Homer Huhn, Jr., 1977-1978, and the Braddock Lodge No. 883 on November 19, 1903.
A busy year, 1903 saw the first "Nickelodeon" open on Smithfield St. in Pittsburgh with "The Great Train Robbery," a film produced and directed by Edward Stanton Porter, a native of Connellsville, Pennsylvania. The Order officially adopted and protected our beautiful Elks Emblem in 1903, and we had a national membership of 155,434 Elks in 879 Lodges, with Joseph T. Fanning of Indianapolis, Indiana, Lodge No. 13, elected as GER at the Grand Lodge Session at Baltimore, Maryland.
At the Carnegie Lodge No. 831, the legendary Pittsburgh Pirate, Honus Wagner, who was the first inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York, remained an active member of the great Carnegie Lodge from its founding until his death in 1954. Wagner always enjoyed naming his personal most memorable achievement that came when he hit a ball out of the old Exposition Park in Allegheny City, and it landed in a moving coal car in the nearby railroad marshalling yards. The well traveled baseball was finally retrieved several states away.
The Milton Lodge No. 913 joined us on May 20, 1904; Etna Lodge No. 932 on
July 8th and Indiana Lodge No. 931 on July 14th, while 1904 saw the Elks jump
to 177,527 members in 932 Lodges across the nation; all under the leadership of
GER William J. O'Brien, Jr., of Baltimore Lodge No. 7. O'Brien was chosen for
the post at the Grand Lodge Session of 1904 held in Cincinnati,
Also in 1904, in the South Bend, Indiana, Lodge No. 235, Brother Frank E.
Herring proposed a national “Mother’s Day," predating Anna Jarvis' suggestion
by fourteen months; but Herring's idea was never pursued to completion. The
visionary Frank Herring later served on the Committee for Preservation of Elk,
and it was in 1904 that the San Diego Lodge No. 168, at the suggestion of
member C. Fred Henking, held the first Elks Flag Day
The little town of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, affectionately known as "Shendo" to Schuylkill County residents, is the home of Tommy Dorsey, born in 1904, and Jimmy Dorsey, and the town citizens Instituted Shenandoah Lodge No. 945 on February 22, 1905, the same year that Jimmy Dorsey was born. The opening of the Shenandoah Lodge was followed by Lodge institutions at Sheraden Lodge No. 949, in the West End of Pittsburgh, on March 14th and Ambridge Lodge No. 983 on March 22nd.
On May 2, 1905, the nation's first uniformed law enforcement unit began operation with the formation of the Pennsylvania State Police, and our Bristol Lodge No. 970, situated on the banks of the beautiful Delaware River, was Instituted on May 25th, followed by the Huntingdon Lodge No. 976 on June 22, 1905.
It was in 1905 that a Pennsylvania candymaker
by the name of Milton S. Hershey opened a chocolate factory east of Harrisburg,
and in Pittsburgh, food pioneer Henry J. Heinz lobbied for a bill to outlaw
false labeling on all processed food products. The year 1905 also found 1252
delegates from 983 Elks Lodges in attendance at the Grand Lodge Convention in
As for the Lodges instituted here in
In the first five years of the Twentieth Century, the B.P.O.E. now with 983 Lodges, boasted 199,370 members. Robert W. Brown of Louisville, Kentucky, Lodge No. 8, served as GER in 1905 after being elected at the Grand Lodge Convention in Buffalo, NY.
In 1906, Patrolmen John F. Henry and Francis A. Zehringer,
in attempting to apprehend suspects in Jefferson County, became the first
Pennsylvania State Police Officers to die in the line of duty, and our great
Gettysburg Lodge No. 1045 opened their doors for the first time on October 12,
The official order to establish the Pennsylvania Elks State Association
came from District Deputies George W. Stine of Lebanon Lodge No. 631, Fred C.
Hand of Scranton Lodge No. 123, John Frederick Austin of Corry Lodge No. 769
and H.P. Staving of Allegheny Lodge No. 339. Temporary officers were selected
by delegates from the-then 95
The first leader of the State Association, George W. Allen, came from Pittsburgh Lodge No. 11, and our first State Secretary, W.W. Morgaridge, was a member of Corry Lodge No. 769. A Credentials Committee, selected by Chairman Allen, then began the process of electing permanent Association Officers.
The result of the first State Association found John D. Jones, of
With the establishment of the Pennsylvania Elks State Association, we now had a much more effective way to carry out the Programs of the Order, and the Elks ended 1906 with a whopping 205,016 members nationwide.
The 1906 Grand Lodge Convention, held in
The United States Army began their "Aeronautical Division," the
forerunner of today's U.S. Air Force, as Pennsylvania celebrated 1907 with
another GER from our state, John Kinley Tener of Charleroi Lodge No. 494. A new postage stamp,
called a "Christmas Seal," went on sale for the first time at the
Coraopolis Lodge No. 1090, in Allegheny County, was Instituted on October
4th; Bellefonte Lodge No. 1094 on October 6th and
In 1907, another development took place in
At the Grand Lodge Convention of 1907, held in
We want to point out that John Kinley Tener, who was born in 1875 in
Charleroi's John K. Tener stood proudly at the
podium in Philadelphia when the resolution was made in 1907 to have a mandatory
Annual Flag Day for the Order, and his legacy lives on in the John K. Tener Lounge at the Charleroi Lodge No. 494. Here,
displayed permanently in a large glass case in the lobby, is the silver
ceremonial trowel used to lay the cornerstone of the Elks Memorial in 1926 at
The Elks enjoyed a total of 1119 Lodges staffed by 284,321 members when
1908 got under way, and
Lodges Instituted in
In 1909 Max L. Lindheimer of the Williamsport
Lodge No. 173 became the State President, and the following year Frank Stehle of Altoona Lodge No. 102 took the reins as State
President. The one Lodge Instituted in 1910 in
The Elks began 1910 with 359,677 members and 1185 Lodges, with GER J.U. Sammis replaced at the Atlantic City Convention by August Herrmann of Cincinnati, Ohio, Lodge No. 5; Sammis was a member of LaMar, Iowa, Lodge No. 428.
The year 1910 had a great impact on the future Elk members who loved
baseball and it happened in the person of President William Howard Taft of
In 1911, with State President John J. Mathias of
A young American inventor named Willis H. Carrier insured comfort in all
future Elk Lodges with his great "Air Conditioner" and our Order of
Elks, with GER John P. Sullivan of New Orleans Lodge No. 30 at the helm, found
Pennsylvania adding the Aliquippa Lodge No. 1221, then known as Woodlawn Lodge,
on January 27th, 1911. The Dispensation had been given on Christmas Eve, 1910,
by GER August Herrmann and the gathering was held on the third floor of the
Woodlawn Trust Building in the city now known as Aliquippa. Here, thirty-two
Charter Members elected Duane P. Smith as their first Exalted Ruler and the
Installation Ritual was performed by the
The Coatesville Lodge No. 1228 was Instituted on April 25th, 1911, and McKees Rocks Lodge No. 1263 on December 12, 1911. It was
also in 1911 that America said farewell to its last Revolutionary War
dependent, and disaster struck our state when the Bayliss
Paper Company's dam in Potter County burst, inundating the unsuspecting towns
of Austin and Costello. The Order sent the sum of $1000 to the victims of this
Our Donora Lodge No. 1265 was Instituted on January 3, 1912, and on June
27, 1912, just two months after the Titanic disaster, we welcomed Lehighton
Lodge No. 1284, while on July 4, 1912,
The following year saw the election of Dr. E.L. Davis of Berwick Lodge
No. 1138 as our State President, as well as the creation of what has become a
staple for thousands of today's Elk members, the "Crossword Puzzle."
Now the most popular and widespread word game in the world, it was invented by
an English journalist, Arthur Wynne of Liverpool, and made its first American
appearance on December 21, 1913, in "The
It was 1914 when the
In 1915, with George J.F. Falkenstein of
McKeesport Lodge No. 136 serving as State President, it was on September 25th
that PGER John K. Tener laid the cornerstone for a
new Elks National Home in Bedford, Virginia. This beautiful new structure
replaced the former Hotel
The Order had 1284 Lodges and 453,516 members in 1916 when the Grand
Lodge donated $1000.00 to victims of a tragic flood in
The Grand Lodge Ritual Committee named the first meeting in February as
"Past Exalted Ruler's Night," and Elk charities in 1917 included a
gift of $500.00 to victims of an ice flood in Lock Haven, the home of Lock
Haven Lodge No. 182. Members of the Pottstown Lodge No. 814 welcomed the
"Champion" automobile in 1917, and it was built in Pottstown with a
hub mounted drive assembly in the rear axle and power provided by a Lycoming
four cylinder gas engine. The Pottstown manufacturing firm moved their
On April 1, 1917, the
Ellwood City Lodge No. 1356, the third new Lodge in Pennsylvania during
WW I, was Instituted on April 3, 1918, with
Other inventions emerged from the war, such as the Lewis machine-gun, invented in 1911 by a Republic, Fayette County native, Isaac Lewis; the tank, developed by Briton E.D. Swinton, and John Browning's Automatic Rifle.
In 1918, when the Armistice ended the fighting in Europe, it was a
lifelong Elk, General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing, a member of New
York Lodge No. 1, who is said to have decided that the 11th Hour Significance
observed by the B.P.O.E. would be the basis for the signing of the papers. The
use of the hour of Eleven O'clock to honor others began as far back as the
Vivian had been a member of the Royal Antedeluvian
Order Of Buffaloes in
But 1918 brought the greatest honor and recognition to the Elks in the
form of a 700-bed reconstruction hospital in
The Elks Hospital cornerstone was laid on Parker Hill, in the Roxbury section of Boston, on Saturday, June 15, 1918, and the construction of the B.P.O.E. treatment center would soon allow the Boston Lodge to reclaim several floors of Lodge space, rooms they had actually been using to house GI's after treatment in nearby facilities for the ravages of "Mustard Gas."
The Elks Hospital, dedicated to helping America's Veterans and given to the U.S. Government on November 16, 1918, ceased its official rehabilitation operations in 1921, then became an integral part of America's Veteran's Hospital System, remaining so until it closed for good in 1928. As America's first true "Veteran's Hospital" the Elks Hospital in Boston helped treat a large number of the more than 237,000 GI's wounded in France, while two field hospitals in France, the forerunners of today's M.A.S.H. Units, were also financed by the Elks, and other Elk aid was rendered to countless returning WW I GI's.
Another WW I device of 1918 was "Daylight Savings Time," a
device formulated in early
In 1919, Pittsburgh's first official "Airport" opened when
Casper P. Mayer, a successful Realtor and aviation pioneer, founded "Mayer
Field" in Bridgeville, and the State Convention at Erie elected Lawrence
H. Rupp of Allentown Lodge No. 130 as State President. Brother Rupp went on to
serve as Grand Exalted Ruler. As the year ended, a new game that all Elks would
embrace started in
In 1920, with Dr. D.S. Ashcom of Allegheny
Lodge No. 339 serving the Elks as State President, a new coke-making process
was discovered and resulted in the decline of the old familiar
"Beehive" coke ovens. However, the phaseout
of these old coke ovens lasted well into the 1960's in some areas of
But 1920 also brought about a new method for Elks to make purchases, the time payment plan. Prior to merchants establishing such financial plans to spread major purchase costs over months of payments, individuals and Lodges, like their individual members, all had to save their money until the total amount was available. The general practice in Lodges needing items before easy pay plans was to simply solicit the members, and the Lodge usually came away with sufficient donations to pay cash for the desired equipment.
The 1921 State Convention, held at Johnstown, saw another future Grand
Exalted Ruler, Charles H. Grakelow of the
Philadelphia Lodge No. 2, chosen as State President, and by 1922, with George
J. Post of Mahanoy City Lodge No. 695 serving as State President, the old
"horseplay" part of the Initiation Ritual had been eliminated, and
Ritual changes began leaning toward their present state. The
"Horseplay" gave rise to some innovative "hazing" practices
In 1922-1923, J. Edgar Masters, a member of Charleroi Lodge No. 494, served as Grand Exalted Ruler, making Charleroi the only active Elks Lodge in the Commonwealth to have two members serve in the highest office in the Order; it was the unfortunate demise of Philadelphia Lodge No. 2 in 1978 which bestowed that honor on Charleroi. PGER J. Edgar Masters became Grand Secretary when Fred C. Robinson of Dubuque, Iowa, resigned in September of 1927 and Masters was appointed to the post. He served faithfully in that job until his death in September of 1954, a situation that prompted the appointment of PSP Lee Donaldson of Etna Lodge No. 932 to the post.
Pennsylvania Lodge delegates met at Williamsport in 1924 where they
elected a member of the Reading Lodge No. 115, Edward J. Morris, as State
President, and the following year, the 1925 State Convention met at Bethlehem
where George J. Kambach, a member of the Pittsburgh
Lodge No. 11, was chosen as State President. Tragedy struck the Elks in
On July 14, 1926, with Pemberton H. Minster of the Bristol Lodge No. 970 as State President, PGER Tener declared the beautiful Elks Memorial Building ready for occupancy during a formal dedication and turned it over to GER William H. Atwell. The building contains sculptures by Adolph A. Weinman, James Earle Fraser, Laura Gardin Fraser and Gerome Brush with beautiful murals painted by Edwin Howland Blashfield and Eugene Savage. The Elks Memorial was the first such memorial structure in the world.
On May 17, 1927, under newly elected State President S. Clem Reichard of
At the Grand Lodge Convention of 1927 at
Today, from the Elks National Foundation, still funded strictly on a
voluntary contribution basis,
The momentous year of 1928 saw Howard L. Davis of the
In 1929, a
Pennsylvania's next Grand Exalted Ruler, in 1930-1931, was
In 1930, word came that a legendary Western Outlaw, the "Sundance
Kid,' had been killed in
M. Frank Horne, a member of the New Kensington Lodge No. 512, was elected as our State President during the 1931 State Convention in Harrisburg, and the next year, the delegates selected an active Elk from the Huntingdon Lodge No. 976, James B. Sleeman, as State President during festivities at Greensburg.
Daniel J. Miller of the Reading Lodge No. 115 was leading our association, and Walter F. Meier of Seattle, Washington, Lodge No. 92, was the GER when Red Lion Lodge No. 1592 was Instituted on March 23, 1933. The Great Depression was gripping the nation as the Elks, with 1388 Lodges, boasted 556,764 members; a drop from a peak of 808,241 in 1928. Indeed, the Wall Street crash in 1929 had drastically affect Elks everywhere, just as it did the entire population.
The delegates to the State Convention met in Gettysburg in 1934 and in Hazleton in 1935, with the elected State Presidents being Scott E. Drum of the Hazleton Lodge No. 200 and Frank J. Lyons of Warren Lodge No. 223 respectively.
America's Elks Lodges dropped dramatically from 1421 Lodges in 1931 to
1370 Lodges in 1935, and our State College Lodge No. 1600 began operating on
October 8, 1935, under the leadership of State President Lyons. In 1936,
In 1939, with James C. Bohlender of Franklin Lodge No. 110 serving as State President for the Pennsylvania Elks, a State College High School teacher, Amos Neyhart, began America's first driver’s education class; and today, many of our Lodges sponsor "55 Alive" driver classes for Senior Citizens of the Commonwealth.
In 1940, a Vermont resident, Ida May Fuller, received America's first
Social Security check in the amount of $22.54, and in October of 1941 the 160
mile long Pennsylvania Turnpike was opened from Irwin to Carlisle. Wade K.
Newell of Uniontown Lodge No. 370 was the State President at the time, and the
attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, thrust
World War II was the second "War To End All Wars" and by 1942
the conflict saw one out of every eight GI's hailing from
Including WW II, Pennsylvania, with over 10%, has more Medal Of Honor winners than any other state except New York, and the father of one WW II Medal Of Honor recipient, Lt. Walter Marm of Washington County, was a lifelong member of the Washington Lodge No. 776.
Those serving as our State President in the lean, ration-plagued years of
WW II included Ralph C. Robinson of Wilkinsburg Lodge No. 577 in 1943, Wilbur
P. Baird of Greenville Lodge No. 145 in 1944 and Charles V. Hogan of Pottstown
Lodge No. 814 in 1945. Many future Elk members were members of the "Junior
Commandoes" during this period, and they gathered bacon grease and other
fats, tin cans and all manner of materials from
The war years of 1940 to 1945, along with having many Pennsylvania Elk members serve in the Armed Forces, saw other members on the home front making munitions and materiels such as the Destroyer Escorts "USS JENKS," "USS DURIK" and "USS WISEMAN" at the Dravo Corporation yards on Neville Island.
Numerous LST's were built at the American Bridge Company in Ambridge, and in Philadelphia, larger vessels such as the "USS WISCONSIN" and the "USS ANTIETAM" were built; and one of the more productive ammunition plants in the world was operating in tiny Eldred near Bradford. Rationing of many vital commodities such as sugar, meat, gasoline and tires put a crimp in Elk travel during WW II, and vehicles could be seen with sawdust filled tires and burning coal in rear mounted devices to produce gas for the engine. On occasion a horse drawn autombile was a surprising sight as it moved along city streets.
At least one modern-day term began during WW II when fighter planes began using ammunition for their guns in fabric belts measuring 27 feet in length. When a pilot returned after a mission that saw him fire all his ammo at one target, he would simply describe it as having fired "the whole nine yards" at his target.
But it was near the end of World War II before another
Under our 1946 State President, and future Grand Exalted Ruler, Lee A. Donaldson of Etna Lodge No. 932, Pennsylvania's Elks welcomed their newest addition, the Bedford Lodge No. 1707, Instituted on June 20, 1946. It was a pleasant way to begin the post-war years for our association.
In July of 1946 the B.P.O.E. coined a motto familiar to all members today
when they began using the slogan "So long as there are veterans in our
hospitals, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget
them." We have kept that sacred vow intact, especially here in
The Order continued to help others in the years following WW II,
including providing low-interest loans for returning GI's and rededicating our
beautiful Veterans Memorial in
The inspirational flag raising photo on
On January 3, 1947, members of the Philadelphia Lodge No. 2 watched, as a
part of a three city network, the proceedings of a U.S. Congress when the
opening business of the 80th Congress was televised; the first time in history
for this event. It was os special interest to all
members of the Order since President Harry S. Truman was a member at the
On October 26, 1948, many of our Donora Lodge No. 1265 members and their
families were devastated by what was referred to as a "Killer Smog."
The deadly fumes, contained in smoke and exhaust emanating from a nearby mill,
hovered over the
John T. Gross of Allentown Lodge No. 130 was elected as our State President at the 1948 State Convention in Reading, and we selected John H. Bennett of the Renovo Lodge No. 334 to lead us in 1949. It was August 3, 1949, that Brother Harry S. Truman approved an Act of Congress making June 14th of every year the beloved "Flag Day"; an observance our Order fought so hard to bring about. To this day, the Elks remain the only organization that has a mandatory Flag Day Observance in every Lodge of the Order.
Francis T. Benson of Kittanning Lodge No. 203 was our State President in 1950, the same year that businessman Francis Xavier McNamara, after enjoying a lunch, discovered he had left his cash at home. Embarrassed, Mr. McNamara set out to make sure this didn't happen again, and this resulted in something many Elk members have enjoyed ever since, the "Diners Club," the prototype for all credit cards now in use around the world.
Our Order reached another milestone when the one millionth member of the
B.P.O.E., Raymond Cole, was sworn into the
The 1952 State Convention at Erie gave us Harry T. Kleean, a member of the Franklin Lodge No. 110, as State President, and the 1952 Grand Lodge Session, held in New York City, saw the delegates unanimously approve a resolution to eliminate the use of a blindfold during the Initiation Service. Prior to this change, three raps from the Exalted Ruler signalled the removal the blindfold, and the Lodge was brought up or seated by four raps.
In 1953, Barney Wentz, a former professional football player and a member
However, after scheduling and playing Notre Dame at
With Ruel H. Smith of Warren Lodge No.
223 as our State President in 1954, England's Roger Bannister became the first
person to run a mile under four minutes, and America was busy with monumental
events such as the addition of the words "under God" to our Pledge of
Allegiance. In 1954 ground was broken for Shippingport
Power Plant in
In Pittsburgh, Dr. Jonas Salk gave his newly developed antipolio inoculations in 1954, and April brought the launching of America's first atomic sub, the USS Nautilus, with her nuclear powerplant coming from the Bettis Plant of the Westinghouse Corporation in Allegheny County. A truly momentous year, 1954 gave America its first Veteran's Day, formerly Armistice Day, and on June 22, 1954, we bid a warm welcome to the Ephrata Lodge No. 1933, and the Del-Mont Lodge No. 1936 on June 30th.
The Institution of the Del-Mont Lodge No. 1936 on June 30, 1954, so named
On June 22, 1954, during the 1601st regular meeting of the Lancaster Lodge No. 134, PDDGER Harry Stoner occupied the Exalted Ruler's chair as the Lodge installed the first Ephrata Lodge No. 1933 officers. John L. Hamaker was elected Exalted Ruler, with the Leading Knight being Roy U. Fassnacht, the Loyal Knight Calvin A. Hauck and the Lecturing Knight John Kostecky. The Secretary was Richard Weaver, Treasurer Joseph Mentzer and the Trustees Ivan Mentzer, Williiam Good and Elmer Wingenroth.
On February 20, 1955, another new
On June 27, 1955, our North Penn Lodge No. 1979 opened its doors in
Lansdale, and at the 1955 State Convention in Harrisburg, we elected Walter Urben of Charleroi Lodge No. 494 as our State President.
During 1955 the B.P.O.E. sent a total of $4500.00 for Flood Relief in
The State President for
The State President for 1957, elected at Pittsburgh, was John S. Buchanan
of Bedford Lodge No. 1707 in the North Central District, and in 1958 the State
Convention was held in Harrisburg, where S. Paul Seeders, a Pottstown Lodge No.
814 member, was elected as State President. In 1959 the delegates met in
On March 27, 1960, the Monroeville Lodge No. 2161 was Instituted under
President Ebersberger, while the Pennsylvania Elks
State Association took the Grand Lodge Award for our Youth Day Program; an
achievement that was repeated in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967. The Order
stood at 1,919 Lodges and 1,260,007 members, and 1960 also saw two more Lodges,
The Grand Lodge began an “Americanism Committee” in 1961, as Past Grand Secretary Lee A. Donaldson (1954-1962) of Etna Lodge No. 932 prepared for his turn as Grand Exalted Ruler; and Pennsylvania welcomed Abington Lodge No. 2216 on April 23rd; Honesdale Lodge No. 2228 on April 24th and Pittsburgh South Hills Lodge No. 2213 on April 30th, 1961.
Edgar B. "Doc" Herwick, a native of Connellsville and a member of the Frackville Lodge No. 1533, was elected as the State President in 1961 at Pittsburgh, and as 1961 concluded the Order Of Elks had 1,280,524 members and a total of 1,966 Lodges in America.
Unfortunately, of the three aforementioned Lodges, the Abington Lodge was
declared defunct on March 4, 1974, and the Honesdale Lodge members closed their
doors on February 25, 1988. But Brother Donaldson's year as GER included the
Institution of the Cranberry Lodge No. 2249, originally known as Warrendale, on February 4th, 1962, and the
In 1962, the popular Fred N. Reno, a member of the Wilkinsburg Lodge No.
577 in the Metropolitan District was elected as State President, and Grand
Exalted Ruler, Lee Donaldson, another Metropolitan District member from Etna
Lodge No. 932, made the "Elk Of The Year" a nationwide Grand Lodge
award. The 1962 version, called the "Golden Antler Award," was
renamed as the coveted "Elk of The Year Award” in 1963, with H. Beecher Charmbury of the
In 1964, the Lodge delegates assembled at Harrisburg to name Homer Huhn, Jr., a member of Mount Pleasant Lodge No. 868, as State Presidents, and although the Elks Of The Year Award was still issued through the Grand Exalted Ruler's Office in 1964, it became part of the Grand Lodge "Lodge Activities Committee" to be distributed by the Grand Secretary. Our national membership was then at 1,294,604 in 2,006 Elks Lodges as the nation observed the passing of the last dependent of a Mexican War Veteran.
Upon the untimely passing of Grand Secretary
It was under Grand Exalted Ruler Homer Huhn that the Order reached its highest membership, 1,634,488. Carlon M. O'Malley, a member of the Scranton Lodge No. 123, next served Pennsylvania in the post of GER, having been elected at the Chicago Grand Lodge Convention in 1997; we now look forward with interest to the next two decades when another Pennsylvania Elk will be honored with the highest office in the Order.
The 1966-1987 State President was Richard C. Megargell
of the Berwick Lodge No. 1138, and it should be noted that the Phil-Mont Lodge
was another play on the
Just six months later, between July 21st and July 24th, 1976, the first
of 29 American Legion members died of what became known as "Legionnaire's
In 1967, with State President William C. Kuhn of the Gettysburg Lodge No.
1045 at the helm, a fast food legend was born in Uniontown when M. J. “Jim” Delligatti, a McDonald's operator, created the first
"Big Mac" sandwich. After test marketing his invention in
In 1969, the State President was Ronald C. Wolfe of Kittanning Lodge No. 203, and in 1970, the Lodge delegates met at Tamiment in the Poconos to elect Robert H. McCormick of State College Lodge No. 1600 as State President.
While Pennsylvania has had no new Lodge institutions in recent years, we have had some great leadership, with Donald O. Oesterling of Butler Lodge No. 170 as State President in 1971. Don served as a State Senator and also held the first chairmanship of the Grand Lodge Public Relations Committee when it was formed in the 1980's. A member of the Oakmont Lodge No. 1668, Charles E. "Chuck" McGinley served as State President in 1972-1973 and was succeeded by Edward Q. Brown, a member of the Erie Lodge No. 67, in 1973.
The 1974 State Convention gave us as State President, Alex R. Brady of Monongahela Lodge No. 455 in the Southwest District, and in 1975 it was Paul W. Brubacker of Lancaster Lodge No. 134. Earl Case of Pottstown Lodge No. 814 was elected State President at Philadelphia, and delegates at Seven Springs in 1976, America's Bi-Centennial year, and the following year brought as State President, C. Bennett Dry, a member at Berwick Lodge No. 1138. Our current State Sponsor, Carlon M. O'Malley of Scranton Lodge No. 123, was elected to the State Presidency at West Shore in 1978, with his successor being Robert T. Mitchell of Johnstown Lodge No. 175 in 1979.
The decade of the 70's concluded with our association being led by Harold W. Sweeney of Lock Haven Lodge No. 182 in 1980, and State President William P. Pickett, a member of Butler Lodge No. 170 and current Executive Director of the Elks National Home elected in 1981 at Mount Airy in the Pocono Mountains.
The Pennsylvania Elks prospered through the 1980's with leadership provided by State President Howard W. Schran, a future Grand Lodge Treasurer and a member of the Etna Lodge No. 932, in 1981. Howard was followed by Haydn F. Evans of Tamaqua Lodge No. 592 in 1982 and John R. Gusic of Waynesburg Lodge No. 757 in 1983. Brother Gusic, a former pilot in P-47's in WW II, had the distinction of joining the Elks and the Army Air Force on the same day, and John's wife, Jean, also served America in that war as an Army Nurse.
John Gusic was followed as State President in
1985 by a member of the Carlisle Lodge No. 578, William J. Henry, and the
convention at Erie in 1986 gave us a new State President, David C. Sassaman of Reading Lodge No. 115. Marshall J. Tyler of
The Seven Springs Conventions gave the Pennsylvania Elks State Association the following State Presidents: Michael J. Brutzman, the Order's first National Soccer Shoot Director and a member of Towanda Lodge No. 2191, in 1988; Kenneth J. Kundla of Indiana Lodge No. 931 in 1989; Vincent Fudrow of State College Lodge No. 1600 in 1990; Paul Q. LaFayette of Cranberry Lodge No. 2249 in 1991; Charles F. Cook, Jr. of Etna Lodge No. 932 in 1992; Emile J. Brady of Danville Lodge No. 754 in 1993; Arthur W. Runkel of Meadville Lodge No. 219 in 1994; Ben K. Ortman, a longtime State Secretary from Meyersdale Lodge No. 1951 in 1995; Wilson L. "Buddy" Bentz of York Lodge No. 213 in 1996; Earl L. Decker of Pottstown Lodge No. 814 in 1997, and John C. Davidson, Jr. of Tarentum Lodge No. 644 in 1998.
In 1999, the State Delegates met at Valley Forge where they selected Frederick A. Reinhart, a member of the Bangor Lodge No. 1106, as State President, and in 2000, the association met at Hershey to elect Joseph L. Amendola, a member of State College Lodge No. 1600, as State President.
Of the 142 Lodge Dispensations and Institutions issued in
Thus, from a world no one in the present-day Order recalls, one with no
electric lights, autos, planes, phones, radio, TV, jets, rockets or any of the
other everyday conveniences, the Pennsylvania Elks have seen America put a man
on the moon, and be able to communicate anywhere instantaneously. It was under
the capable leadership of Frederick A. Reinhart of
We have tried to find the names of all the Pennsylvania members who have served on various Grand Lodge committees as chairmen and members, with PSP Donald O. Oesterling of Butler Lodge No. 170 serving with pride as the first Chairman of the Grand Lodge Public Relations Committee from 1981 to 1986. Joseph L. Amendola of State College Lodge No. 1600 served faithfully on the Grand Lodge Judiciary Committee until his appointment in 2000 to the Grand Forum, with PSP Earl L. Decker of Pottstown Lodge No. 814 as Area II Grand Lodge Public Relations Chairman and PSP Michael N. Brutzman of Towanda Lodge No. 2191 as the first National Director of the Elks Soccer Shoot. PSP Paul LaFayette, a member of the Cranberry Lodge No. 2249, served on the Grand Lodge Youth Activities Committee from 1992 until 1996, and was the Administrative Assistant to Grand Exalted Ruler Carlon M. O'Malley in 1997-1998.
PSP LaFayette was followed on the Youth Activities Committee by PSP Arthur Runkel of Meadville Lodge No. 219, and in 2000, PSP Wilson L. Bentz was placed on the Grand Lodge Public Relations Committee in Area II, with his predecessor, PSP Earl L. Decker, given a spot on the Grand Lodge Ritualistic Committee and PSP David C. Sassaman of Reading Lodge No. 115 as Grand Inner Guard for 2000-2001. PSP John C. Davidson, Jr. of Tarentum Lodge No. 644 was placed on the always important Grand Lodge Membership Committee, and he retains his duties as the Elks representative to the H. John Heinz VAMC, formerly the Aspinwall VAMC in Allegheny County.
Our Hoop Shoot Program, begun in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1970, saw its
greatest growth under the direction of PSP Emile J. Brady of Danville Lodge No.
754, our National Hoop Shoot Director for twenty-five years, and we have had
the largest statewide participation under the present State Hoop Shoot
Director, Steve Lucas of Tyrone Lodge No. 212. Steve was replaced in 2000 with
the dedicated Larry P. Knorr of
It was on September 1, 1985, that PSP William P. Pickett, also a member
We actively seek from all members new information about our proud
Pennsylvania Elk members have served in every United States conflict since, and including, the Civil War. Our state's contribution to America's defense leadership is 130 Generals and Admirals, and the Elks beloved "Vacant Chair," one of the more popular songs of the Civil War, was written by Charles Washburn for the family of Lt. William "Willie" Grout; a young man who was killed at Ball's Bluff, Virginia on October 19, 1861. Washburn, a guest at the Grout's Worcester, Massachusetts, home on Thanksgiving Day 1861, was inspired by the empty place setting in their son's honor.
Set to music by composer George Frederick Root the following year, "The Vacant Chair" became a Civil War favorite and was introduced to the Elks by Major William Burk, a dedicated member of the Order and Civil War veteran. It was formally adopted by the Elks in 1868.
During World War II, Army physicians trained at the Carlisle Army
Barracks, and reconnaissance pilots received instructions at the
World War II saw Pennsylvania's residents and industries contribute in many other ways to the war effort, not the least of which was a small chocolate confection designed to be carried by our GI's in warmer climates. Now known to all as the "M&M - the candy that melts in your mouth, not in your hand," it was the idea of candymaker Forrest Mars Sr., who came up with the idea primarily for the Army.
With sugar rationed for the duration of the war, and most of the chocolate produced being sent to our fighting men and women overseas, Forrest Mars formed an alliance with William Murrie, president of Hershey Chocolate Company, in order to get the ingredients for his new product. The hard sugar shell was developed by Mr. Mars, and when this was put in place over the famous, but fragile Hershey chocolate, it prevented the nutritiously vital food from melting under warm environments. This little round confection that graced the pockets of millions of GI's received its name from the "M" in each man's last name.
In 1963, the present Pennsylvania Elks Home Service Nurses Program, then
known as the
Pennsylvania Elk Lodges have given literally millions of dollars to our communities, and in 2000 the Elk State Association members in our state began their third different century of service to the place where our great nation was born. America began right here in Pennsylvania, and this state's Elk members have been instrumental in making the B.P.O.E. the truly "All American" Order it is today!
In February, 1999, our Wilkinsburg Lodge moved to a new location, the
former Fountain Room Restaurant in
In addition to this little history of our state association, we invite you to read the History of the Order Of Elks, a hardbound volume available from the Grand Lodge. This book, written in part by PGER Lee Donaldson of Etna Lodge No. 932, gives an in-depth look at the rich history of the Benevolent and Protective Order Of Elks, and gives details of many events that we could not hope to cover in this Pennsylvania History.
As Elkdom begins its third different century in Pennsylvania, a member from Sharon can easily have a leisurely breakfast at home, enjoy a nice lunch at the State College Lodge, and then partake of a tasty dinner in the East Stroudsburg Lodge --- and do all this on the same day. This journey would have required several days on the road for an Elk in the latter days of the 19th Century and the early part of the 20th Century. Thus, from the first Pennsylvania Elks Lodge in Philadelphia in 1871, a "modern" facility with no phone, no electric, no TV, no radio and no conveniences of any kind, even the smallest of today's Pennsylvania's Elks Lodges have an instantaneous access to a world of information. Members in the eastern portion of Pennsylvania know of a happening in the western section even as it is happening, and all Lodges are a part of what could be accurately termed as "one big Elks Lodge" that encompasses the entire Commonwealth.
In 2000, the B.P.O.E., with Pennsylvania's dedicated assistance, had given over $3,000,000,000, that's THREE BILLION dollars, to the citizens of America, and above and beyond the work the B.P.O.E. in our state has done monetarily, we have also given countless hours of other volunteer efforts to numerous Pennsylvania communities.
We are proud of what our members have done since 1871, are now doing, and
will continue to do for the most beautiful state in the
On the following pages is a chronological order of Lodge Institutions in
We gave notice about this publication on several occasions over a two
year span, and this included mailing the entire manuscript to all Advisory
Board members and other
Be advised that all corrections and changes will be incorporated in
future printings, and members in the years to come will now have some way of
knowing just how much the Elks have done in Pennsylvania. An up-to-date copy of
this history will be maintained in the State Office in
In closing, I thank the finest committee members anyone could ever have the privilege of serving with: The 2000-2001 Pennsylvania Elks State Association Public Relations Committee. Suellen Shick is our Vice Chairmen West from Indiana Lodge No. 931 in the West Central District; Ray Bender is the Vice Chairmen East from Lebanon Lodge No. 631 in the South Central District; Brad Singer from Lancaster Lodge No. 134 in the South Central District; Dennis Kanouff of the Oakmont Lodge No. 1668 in the Metropolitan District; Franklin Sherman of the New Castle Lodge No. 69 in the West District; Frank Joyce of Towanda Lodge No. 2191 in the Northeast District; Dave Cunningham of North Penn Lodge No. 1979 in the Southeast District; Rich Rozell of the Danville Lodge No. 754 in the Northeast Central District; Mike Zimmerman of the Bedford Lodge No. 1707 in the North Central District and C.J. "Tug" Roae of the Meadville Lodge No. 219 in the Northwest District.
These dedicated members have made an always interesting and challenging job more easy and productive than ever in 2000-2001; they are simply the best and their dedication to Elkdom is without question.
(NOTE: Anyone who would like to add to this History can send their updates, contributions or corrections to Dave Pular at firstname.lastname@example.org )
(There are other Lodge histories that have been lost, if anyone has a Lodge history please contact Dave Pular at email@example.com)