THE HISTORY OF THE
This page contains
a history of the
Researched and written by Ralph Haas
Norwin Lodge No. 2313, Southwest District
Last revisions made by David Pular on October 11, 2013
Tens of thousands of Pennsylvania residents have been deeply involved in Elkdom since 1871, with the Order appearing in the Keystone State just three years after the Elks was founded in New York City. Begun by the original "Jolly Corks," the B.P.O.E., then boasting a total of 243 members, received approval by New York's Legislature on March 10, 1871, to establish subordinate Lodges. The New York Lodge No. 1, also known by the designation as Lodge "A," was given a Grand Lodge "Dispensation" on February 12, 1871. This action took place on the same day as the first Grand Lodge meeting, with our Philadelphia Lodge No. 2, or Lodge "B," receiving its "Dispensation" on February 19, 1871.
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 Kansas City, MO, Lodge No. 26 would have been Lodge "Z" and our own Pittsburgh Lodge No. 11 would be known as Pittsburgh Elks Lodge "K."
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 Pennsylvania Elks Lodges, it is our intention to not only show the growth of the Order in the "Keystone State," but also illustrate just how the Order Of Elks has adapted to numerous inventions and important events that affected the entire nation during this time frame; the majority of them concerning the world itself.
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 Pennsylvania, we'll punctuate the formation of our Lodges with a select number of the more important happenings during the year in which they began operation. We'll also include a little capsule history of each Lodge: first ER's, etc. where information has been forthcoming from those Lodges.
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 Pennsylvania Elk members included numerous Civil War veterans, as well as some from the War of 1812 and the Mexican War of 1846. We can also be proud that we have never stopped caring for veterans since the very outset of Elkdom.
In fact, Pennsylvania's journey into Elkdom actually begins in the State of New York on February 12, 1871, with the first Grand Lodge meeting. Held on that date at 114-116 East 13th Street in New York City, this meeting gave us our first Grand Lodge Officers, with George J. Green elected to preside, E.G. Browne as Secretary and Hugh P. O'Neil, Fernando Pastor, J. C. Pinckney, S.K. Spencer, Claude Goldie, Henry P. O'Neil, A.H. Mulligan and Antonio "Tony" Pastor in other offices.
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 New York Lodge used their "Dispensation" date of February 12, 1871, as their Charter Date, while the Philadelphia Lodge No. 2 received its "official" Charter on March 12, 1871.
To honor the great event in Philadelphia, a talented Lodge member, John S. Cox, composed a tune he named the "Elks March." Cox, a member of the Simmons and Slocum Minstrels, dedicated the spirited song to the Philadelphia Lodge and even had it published by North & Company, a musical firm in the Quaker City. The "Elks March" music, distributed by North in sheet form, is now in the files of the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. and copies may be obtained from that source.
As far as the New York Lodge No. 1, to this day they display their charter that actually reads "February 12, 1871," and this corresponds with the date the Grand Lodge was chartered. Using this date ensures that the New York Elks Lodge No. 1 will forever be America's very first B.P.O. Elks Lodge, but the birth of Elkdom in Pennsylvania began at exactly the same time and we're proud of that fact.
It wasn't long before the great Philadelphia Lodge No. 2, an operation that gave us "Exalted Grand Rulers" James W. Powell in 1874 and George R. Maguire in 1878-1879, found their growth demanding new quarters. In 1904 the membership commissioned Philadelphia architects Francis Caldwell and Edward Simon to design their new Lodge quarters, and the handsome brick and terra-cotta structure, located at 1320-22 Arch Street, was formally dedicated on April 17, 1906.
Unfortunately, the once-opulent location fell prey to inner city blight over the years and the Philadelphia Elks building was sold in 1963; the Lodge itself being declared defunct on March 19, 1978. Today, if ever a major city needed to get an Elks Lodge restarted, Philadelphia is that location!
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 following Pennsylvania Elks history, several attempts were made to reestablish a Lodge within the Philadelphia area but none of them took root. Actually, the population shift left Philadelphia with a very sparse base from which to choose.
Elkdom began in Pennsylvania when the state's population, now a hefty 11,882,000, consisted of only 3,538,000 persons and the average life expectancy of an Elk was about 43 years of age. Lackawanna County had not yet been formed and we had no National or American League, NHL, NBA or NFL to enjoy. The telegraph was the main communications tool and only the wealthiest citizens had gas light at night, and the legendary Jesse James robbed his first train in Adair, Iowa, in July of 1873, that being the most popular, and fastest transportation available.
The automobile in this state was nearly three decades down the road in 1871, and Elkdom in Pennsylvania has in fact witnessed every major invention --- telephones, flight, electric lights, rockets, etc., known to man. In fact, the smallest Pennsylvania Elks Lodge, Clarion Lodge No. 2315, enjoys luxuries today that even the richest Elks member would never have dreamed of having back in 1871, and Lodge members across the state can look to live an average of 75 years as we enter 2000.
On July 3, 1871, the exciting Jesse James robbed the Corydon, Iowa, Bank of $45,000, and a new amusement ride, the "Carousel," came on three weeks later with the issuance of a patent for the device to Wilhelm Schneider in Davenport, Iowa. In fact, the Philadelphia Lodge was only seven months old when, at about 9:00 PM on Sunday, October 8, 1871, a cow, as legend tells us, in Patrick O'Leary's cottage at 137 DeKoven Street on Chicago's west side, kicked over a lantern. The next day found Chicago, the future home of the B.P.O.E., in ruins, with over 300 people dead and some 90,000 others homeless. Included in the catastrophic losses was the original draft of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation then housed at the Field Museum Building.
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, U.S. Grant was re-elected as President, and on November 24th the National Rifle Association was formed in New York City. But the year ended with on a positive note with an event that would affect the Philadelphia Elks Lodge, as well as the future of all Elkdom, when the invention of the halftone process of developing film made it possible to print photographs in newspapers.
As Elkdom began its second year in Pennsylvania in 1872, a process that turned lowly wood pulp into paper was revolutionizing the printing industry, while Elks began communicating with the U.S. Mail "penny" postcard. On July 9, 1872, a Maine inventor, John Blondel, received a patent for a "Donut" maker, and by 1873, Elk members everywhere were reading illustrated daily newspapers. The first color photograph appeared, and the Remington Company was selling a newfangled machine called the "Typewriter." It featured a "QWERTY" keyboard, a development that remains with us on our latest computers.
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 Philadelphia Lodge began taking their families to America's first Zoo that opened that year in the City of Brotherly Love. Robert L. Green of Philadelphia invented the "Ice Cream Soda" in 1874, and countless Elk families have enjoyed them through the years.
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 Philadelphia Songwriter, Henry Clay Work. In Work's words it "never struck again until the old man died."
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
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 Philadelphia Centennial Celebration, and 1876 also saw Philadelphia Druggist Charles Hires introduced his "Root Beer." In Deadwood, South Dakota, frontiersman "Wild Bill" Hickok was shot to death while holding a Poker Hand of black eights and aces; a set of cards still known to all card-players as a "Deadman's Hand."
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 strike at Pittsburgh in 1877.
Our Pennsylvania Elks Lodges would benefit from an 1877 invention from Thomas A. Edison, and his "phonograph" would bring recorded music to Elk gatherings of the future, while the first executions of members of the legendary "Molly Maguires" took place in Pottsville on June 21, 1877. Many of the "Molly Maguires" were members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, at that time the largest fraternal organization in the country, and their descendants can be found in many Elks Lodges in the anthracite coal region.
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 San Francisco. With live music being the entertainment medium of that era, many of the Elks Lodges sponsored huge bands, some closer to being full-fledged orchestras, and Elk bands were the greatest pride and joy of numerous communities across Pennsylvania.
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!
In 1878, America's new Professional Baseball League contest saw Boston defeat Philadelphia 6 to 5 in the very first National Baseball League game, and on September 13, 1878, Pennsylvania's Pittsburgh Elks Lodge No. 11 was Instituted.
The B.P.O.E. boasted a total of 820 members nationwide at the time, and Lackawanna County, the last of the Commonwealth counties, was formed in 1878. The name Lackawanna is a derivative of the Indian word for "river that forks," and while these events unfolded in the nation, Robert Chesebrough, a Pennsylvania Chemist, perfected what he named "Vaseline," a by-product of the residue left from drilling for oil.
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 Philadelphia, was orchestrated for a variety of solo instruments and seems to have been played on mostly formal occasions. On March 20, 1880, Charles Algernon Sidney Vivian, the B.P.O. E.'s acknowledged founder who performed throughout Pennsylvania as "Mr. Johnson," died of pneumonia at the age of 34 in Leadville, Colorado. Vivian was buried there with good intentions and all due respect, but the poorly prepared and maintained grave soon fell victim to this unintentional and unfortunate neglect.
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" prison in Georgia in 1864. Today, many Lodges are still a vital part of the regular American Red Cross Blood Drives in Pennsylvania, and numerous Elks have been recognized for their donations of gallons of the precious fluid.
The future of all Elks in Pennsylvania would forever be influenced by a fashion statement made in November of 1886 by Pierre Lorillard, a member of the wealthy tobacco family. While tails and black ties had been accepted articles of clothing for fashionable events, Lorillard commissioned a tailor to create a tailless suit for a coming social occasion in his hometown. The new attire, worn by Lorillard, his son and some friends, made its debut at a huge party in Tuxedo Park, New York.
This new "Tuxedo" was evident when our Erie Lodge No. 67 was Instituted on May 28, 1887, and when the New Castle Lodge No. 69 began operating on August 31, 1887. For years a legend in the show business community, it was DDGER Antonio "Tony" Pastor, a member of New York Lodge No. 1, who was present at the Erie Lodge No. 67 Institution Service, an event that was trumpeted in the Erie newspapers due to Pastor's national prominence in the theater. Recognized as the "Father of Vaudeville in America," Pastor was one of the more popular theater owners and producers in Manhattan, due mainly to his refusal to embrace anything but wholesome entertainment.
It was on August 21, 1887, just ten days before the New Castle Lodge No. 69 began its initial operation that a Philadelphia pitcher, "Mighty" Dan Casey, struck out in the ninth inning against the New York Giants. In and of itself it was nothing extraordinary, but in fact it was this deed that inspired the gifted Ernest L. Thayer to write his immortal poem "Casey At The Bat."
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 Penn State team won their first “official” football game against Bucknell by 54-0, and a Scotsman named J.B. Dunlop perfected what was known as the "Pneumatic Tyre."
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 Lancaster Lodge was Instituted by an eleven-man delegation from the Philadelphia Lodge No. 2, including PGER William G. Myers (1985-1896). The beautiful ceremony was conducted in Lancaster, with Charles C. Duttenhofer as the first Exalted Ruler.
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 Germany.
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 Williamsport Lodge, the home Lodge of GER Howard E. Davis, 1951-1952, closed its doors permanently on November 20, 1995. In 1890 the Grand Lodge became "migrant" by agreeing to meet in places other than New York City, and the 1890 session was held in Cleveland, Ohio, where 207 delegates, representing a national membership of 13,067, met to transact business.
In 1891 the Elks continued the growth spike, with Sharon Lodge No. 103 and Lock Haven Lodge No. 182 Instituted on the same date, January 14, 1891. The Lock Haven Institution Ritual, held in the Knights Of Pythias Room in the Exchange Building, was performed by Acting District Deputy George W. Rianhard of Williamsport since DDGER J. F. Borland was doing the honors at the Sharon Lodge No. 103. With L. N. Morrison officially installed as Lock Haven's first Exalted Ruler, a huge banquet was then served at the Fallon House.
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 Safe Deposit Building, and on October 1, 1895, moved to the Brown Building on Market Street; now known as the Arcade Building. The present Kittanning Elks Lodge building, purchased on December 27, 1906 for $15,000.00, was the residence of James E. Brown, a pioneer citizen of Kittanning, and was known as "Finlayston."
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, C.A. Smith, F.W. Cooper, Fred Paul, George W. Thompson, George Maue, L.T. Connor, W.H. Lawall, Joseph Levy and H.W. McClure. The first Hazleton elected officers were: Exalted Ruler Alvin Markle, Leading Knight John R. Leisenring, Loyal Knight H.B. Casselberry and Trustees L.T. Connor, Joseph Levy, George W Thompson and the Tiler W.H. Lawall. The Leisenring family gave their name to a community in Fayette County, and many of the Connellsville, Pa. Elks Lodge members live there today.
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 Pittsburgh engineer, George Washington Gale Ferris, who lived at 204 Arch Street in Old Allegheny, was perfecting his "Ferris Wheel" for the upcoming Columbian Exposition. It was in 1891 that a young lady from Indiana, Pa., Elizabeth Seamans, began her ground-breaking journey of traveling around the world in 80 days, and writing about it in New York City under the name of Nellie Bly. By 1892 the Order had grown to 18,424 members.
Our Warren Lodge No. 223 was Instituted on March 30, 1892, with Bradford Lodge No. 234 coming along on April 27 and Harrisburg Lodge No. 241 on May 17, 1892. The Warren Lodge 223 is still operating, but the Harrisburg Lodge No. 241 was declared defunct on March 15, 1901. PGER Meade D. Detweiler, a lifelong member of the Harrisburg Lodge, served as Exalted Ruler at the Harrisburg Lodge reorganization on June 17, 1904, having successfully obtained a defunct Lodge number used in California until 1895, No. 12. Thus, the Harrisburg Lodge became Lodge No. 12, but PGER Detweiler died the following day. Bradford Lodge No. 234, reorganized as Lodge No. 1061 in 1907, became officially defunct on March 31, 1975.
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 Lima, Pennsylvania, gave us book matches, and the first official basketball game was played in Springfield, Massachusetts.
In 1892 that the Grand Lodge adopted the Forget-Me-Not, Amaranth and Ivy for use at funeral services for our members. The Homestead Steel Riots affected everyone, and Westmoreland County's New Kensington was given the "New" designation to avoid conflict with the Kensington post office in Eastern Pennsylvania. In New York City of 1892, a lass from County Cork, Ireland, 15 year old Annie Moore, became the first of millions of immigrants to pass through Ellis Island and enjoy the freedoms of the United States of America.
The year 1893 found the Pittsburgh "Nationals" baseball team signing an unreserved Philadelphia player, Louie Bierbauer, prompting an accusation from the citizens there that the Pittsburgh team was nothing but a bunch of "Pirates!" Of the two Lodges Instituted in Pennsylvania in 1893, the 39 Charter Members of the Titusville Lodge No. 264 began operating on July 9, 1893, with W.W. Tarbell as their first Exalted Ruler. Mr. Tarbell was the father of author Ida Tarbell of literary fame.
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 Vine Street in Sunbury.
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 Rochester Lodge No. 283 was the only new Pennsylvania Lodge Instituted in 1894, beginning operation as a Lodge on May 9, 1894, while "Labor Day" became a public holiday in America. The latter observance was arguably the result of a suggestion by a New York carpenter, Peter J. McGuire, in May of 1882.
With 1895, in addition to the progress in our Order, came a strange twist to Elkdom here in Pennsylvania when the Punxsutawney Lodge No. 299 was Instituted on April 29, 1895. This opening was approved by the Grand Lodge Session at Jamestown, New York, with GER William H. Friday, a member of the Brooklyn, NY Lodge No. 22, presiding; however, another Grand Lodge Session held in Atlantic City also saw the Punxsutawney Lodge No. 301 Instituted on April 29, 1895, done with the approval of GER William G. Meyers of Philadelphia Lodge No 2. This two-Grand Lodge situation is known in Elks history as the "Jamestown Controversy," a split that resulted from a battle between the Grand Secretary, Allen O. Myers, and GER Edwin Hay. The divisive event began when Brother Hay managed to reduce Myers' Secretarial pay; and was to prove to be a move that would literally split the Order in two; with Pennsylvania smack in the middle of it! Meade Detweiler of Harrisburg Lodge #241 was elected as GER at the Jamestown convention. He went to the Grand Lodge Convention in Atlantic City, took off his jewels in front of GER Hay and stated “ There is only one Elks”. That caused the rift to end and made the Elks one organization again. Thus revered he was elected as GER in 1896 and again in 1897 thus becoming the last 2 time GER of the Order of Elks.
The "Punxy" Lodge received its charter from was then known as the "Rump Grand Lodge" at their meeting in Jamestown, New York, on July 11, 1895. This final Lodge document was then presented to the Punxsutawney Elks Lodge Charter members, H. S. Smith, Joseph Byer, S. J. Hughes, C. H. Ford, James A. Weber, Joseph A. Weber, Joseph W. Wilson, "Des" Freas, J. L. North, T. M. Kurtz, Walter Brown, E. Lackman, Allan T. Work, W. H. Cawthra, George Kurtz, James S. St. Clair, T. H. Bell, W. R. Neal, J. H. Foultz and U. J. Matson. H. S. Smith was elected to serve Punxsutawney as its first Exalted Ruler.
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 Punxsutawney Lodge No. 301 operates on a charter signed by William H. Friday, who is not recognized as an official Grand Exalted Ruler. The Lodge number 299, assigned to the now-defunct Punxsutawney Lodge, was then given to a new Lodge in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and Lodge No. 299 remains in operation there to this day. Pennsylvania's Elks celebrated happier situations in 1895 when East Stroudsburg Lodge No. 319 was Instituted on June 28th and the Kane Lodge No. 329 on December 16th, a move that expanded America's Order of Elks to 27,610 members in 320 Elks Lodges.
In the Pennsylvania of 1895, America's first Professional Football game ended with Latrobe scoring 12 points to Jeannette's zero. This historic contest has a decided Pennsylvania Elk flavor in the fact that one of the linemen, Leo Gibson, became a member of the Greensburg Lodge No. 511, and founded the highly successful Gibson-Thomas Engineering Corporation in Latrobe. Leo's son, Walter T. Gibson, a lifelong member at the Norwin Lodge No. 2313, held every Boy Scout Award possible and was an active Eagle Scout until his death. Walt Gibson, also quite an athlete in his own right, was a varsity wrestler at Washington and Jefferson College in the 160 Lb. class, a weight he maintained all his life.
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 Rochester, New York, earned the world's first patent for an "automobile" on November 3, 1895.
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 Wilkes-Barre an Italian immigrant, Amedo Obic, was opening his small fruit stand. The latter operation became the famed Planter's Peanut Co. in 1906, and in February of 1896, Elks lives changed forever when the first gasoline powered vehicle was sold in America; an 1895 Duryea automobile that had four horsepower and could go as fast as 20 MPH!
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 Thomas, in New York City and broke her leg. This was America's first officially tabulated traffic accident and it spawned an entirely new industry: auto liability insurance.
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 America. In LeRoy, New York, a young carpenter named Pearle Wait, while attempting to create a homemade cough remedy, stumbled across gelatin. His wife nicknamed the sweet concoction "Jello," while here in Pennsylvania, we saw five more Lodges Instituted: Uniontown Lodge No. 370 on May 12th; Leechburg Lodge No. 377 on June 18th; Pittston Lodge No. 382 on August 2nd; Ashland Lodge No. 384 on October 1st and Apollo Lodge No. 386 on October 14th.
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 McLaughlin Building on Warren Avenue. On November 24, 1899 the Apollo Lodge Trustees leased the second floor of the I.O.O.F. Building on First Street, and later the Palace Inn was purchased for $7,000.00. When renovations were completed, a formal dedication was held on November 17, 1904, and the original Apollo Elks Lodge bar and lounge was in the basement of their present building on Warren Avenue.
On September 22, 1897, John Rowe addressed 24 Ashland residents at the town's Washington Social Hall and explained the steps needed to form an Elks Lodge. The result was that, on October 1, 1897, Ashland Lodge No. 384 was instituted by DDGER P.F. Gunster of Scranton Lodge No. 123. Officers of the Pottsville Lodge No. 207 filled the chairs and the first Ashland officers elected were: Exalted Ruler Burd W. Payne; Leading Knight Harry Harper; Loyal Knight Harry Buck; Lecturing Knight Joseph Garner; Secretary George Hadesty; Treasurer E. L. Waiter and Tiler Thomas Eltringham.
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 Minneapolis, Minnesota, Lodge No. 44, when the Grand Lodge Convention came to town. Goddard served as treasurer of the Minneapolis Lodge, and he was in charge of the arrangements for the Elks Convention that year.
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 Tustin Mansion, in 1923.
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 instituted by McKeesport Lodge No. 136, with Harry T. Howe as the first Exalted Ruler. District Deputy George F. Falkenstein was assisted by members of Pittsburgh Lodge No. 11, and 200 people, among them the 39 charter members, enjoyed a supper prepared by caterer H.C. Sutman.
The world was a busy place in 1898, with an Erie resident, Eben Brewer, designing today's system of delivering mail to the military. The battleship Maine blew up in Havana Harbor to precipitate a war and the first Groundhog Day was held on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney.
During the year of 1898, GER Meade D. Detweiler, a member of the Harrisburg Lodge No. 241, managed to secure the ebony gavel used by Charles Algernon Sidney Vivian at the founding of the Order. Made by one of the original "Jolly Corks," Mr. J.G. Wilton, the gavel was in the possession of another “Jolly Cork,” Richard R. Steirly of Hoboken, NJ, Lodge No. 74. The beautiful black gavel resides now in the Elk Archives in Chicago.
Our great Navy Hospital Corps was established in 1898 during the Spanish-American War, and Robert Allison of Port Carbon became the owner of the first auto in Pennsylvania. In Sayre, a future Elk, Harold Peterson, entered the world on October 19th, 1898, and Harold, who joined Sayre Lodge No 1148 in 1926, was still a dedicated Elk after 72 years!
It was also 1898 when the first Pennsylvania-built automobile, the "General Electric," appeared on the streets of Philadelphia, while the "Auto-Tri," a three wheeled contraption designed by C.W. Kelsey, was being manufactured in Chestnut Hill.
In 1899, the "Pittsburgh," the forerunner of the legendary "Autocar," reached a death-defying speed of 18 MPH but lasted just one year. The "Autocar" became a truck exclusively and manufacturing was moved from Pittsburgh's Swissvale section to Ardmore. Mrs. John Howell Phillips of Chicago became America's first licensed female driver, while Elks in Pennsylvania sang "My Wild Irish Rose" and drank Coca Cola from bottles for the first time. In Pittsburgh, Thomas F. Hodges published the "Pennsylvania Elk" Magazine, along with C.C. Benton's "Tri-State Elk." These lasted until 1922 when the Elk Magazine began.
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 Titusville Lodge members suffered heavy damage to their quarters in a disastrous fire at the I.O.O.F. Building in Titusville in 1899, and new Lodge facilities were moved to the Brunswick Hotel, now the site of the Titusville Herald Building.
It was also during 1899 that dictionaries listed a foodstuff called "Hamburg" for the first time, describing it as chopped beefsteak, and Lebanon entered the automobile manufacturing with a steam-driven unit called the "Keystone," an ancestor of "Searchmont." On June 5, 1899, the Connellsville Lodge No. 503 came into being; Greensburg Lodge No. 511 on June 8th; New Kensington Lodge No. 512 on December 12th and Reynoldsville Lodge No. 519 on September 28th, 1899. B.M. Allen of Birmingham, Alabama, Lodge No. 79, was now leading 60,129 members, represented by 533 delegates assembled at the Grand Lodge Session in St. Louis, Missouri. A half a dozen of the 1899 Pennsylvania Lodges survived, with the Chester Lodge No. 488 becoming defunct on January 24, 1978.
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.
The Lebanon Lodge dispensation was awarded to three members of the Harrisburg Lodge No. 241, W.S. Weaver, the Exalted Ruler; PER John H. Maloney and Morris H. Craiglow. The Institution was performed in the Laudermilch Building in Lebanon by DDGER Thomas W. Scott of Sunbury Lodge No. 267, and the first Exalted Ruler at Lebanon was John A. Weimer.
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 Mahanoy City's first Exalted Ruler with H.A. Swalm as Secretary. PER George J. Post became secretary in 1904, a position he held for 50 years.
The ceremony for the Waynesboro Lodge took place on a Wednesday, which was October 23, 1901, with DDGER Thomas W. Scott of the Sunbury Lodge officiating. Assisted by Elks from Hagerstown, Maryland and the Chambersburg Lodge, the initiation group consisted of 64 members, and more than 100 came from other Lodges to witness the historic event. The first Waynesboro Lodge officers were: Morris T. Brown as Exalted Ruler, S.W. Cunningham as Leading Knight and the Loyal Knight was William A. Harbaugh. Samuel Beeler was elected as Secretary, J.F. Zullinger as Treasurer, William S. Amberson as Tiler, S.D. Hockman as Esquire and J.B. Long as Chaplain. The Inner Guard was Lloyd D. Gilbert and the Trustees were Dr. Walter Peare, W.T. Omwake and Dr. J.C. Criswell.
All are still viable Lodges in our great Pennsylvania Elks State Association and the Danville Lodge members proudly dedicated their beautiful new Lodge Building on November 14, 1999, while the Waynesboro Lodge celebrated its 53rd year of giving out scholarships to nearly 500 area students.
The Danville Lodge application to the Grand Lodge was made by William Kaserlerst, Elias Maier, Arthur Geringer and William Cairnes, and the first Exalted Ruler was 28 year old Paul A. Groff. The Lodge meetings were held in what is now the McWilliams Pharmacy Building at Mill and East Mahoning Streets in Danville. The B.P.O.E. ended 1901 with 725 active Lodges comprising 99,827 members led by Charles E. Pickett, who was elected as GER at the 1901 Grand Lodge Session in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by 813 Elk delegates.
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 Pennsylvania's first traffic fatality. The Reading Lodge No. 115 was already eleven years old in 1902 when the "Reber" appeared on the city's streets, a tonneau-style, two cylinder vehicle that preceded another Reading-built car, the "Acme." Pennsylvania was becoming a big player in the latest transportation sensation, the "automobile."
On May 31, 1902, the Order dedicated the first Elks National Home, the former Hotel Bedford in Bedford, Virginia, purchased a cost of $12,500.00. The members also joined Teddy Roosevelt in 1902 to save the great American Elk population, while Pennsylvania gained eight more Elks Lodges: Duquesne Lodge No. 751 on January 16th and the Waynesburg Lodge No. 757 on February 5th; where John T. Rogers served as their first Exalted Ruler. The Hanover Lodge No. 763 was Instituted on March 7th. 1902; Corry Lodge No. 769 on March 26th; Washington Lodge No. 776 on May 23rd; Scottdale Lodge No. 777 on May 28th; Monessen Lodge No. 773 on May 29th and Pottstown Lodge No. 814 on November 26th. From this 1902 class of Elks Lodges the only casualty was the Duquesne Lodge No. 751, who gave up their charter on November 18, 1938. But by 1902 the Order was 128,679 strong, and 662 delegates had voted George P. Cronk of Omaha, Nebraska, Lodge No. 39 to the post of GER at the Grand Lodge Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The first Exalted Ruler at the Washington Lodge No. 776 was William C. Robison. Robison was a resident of the city, and a member of the Monongahela Lodge No. 455 when he and others received a dispensation to begin the Washington Lodge.
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 Northumberland County. But while the Williamstown Lodge No. 866 Dispensation and Institution, the latter dated May 6, 1903, were all in good order, the Williamstown Lodge appears to have never functioned for even one day and it was declared defunct on June 11, 1903. The Williamstown, Pennsylvania, Lodge serial number, 866, was later assigned to the new Linton, Indiana, Lodge and is still in operation at that location.
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.
In 1893, Pittsburgh gave Pennsylvania, as well as the entire nation, another first when the Pittsburgh Baseball Club began competing with other professional teams in the first stadium designed exclusively for baseball. But 1903 was a year that changed not only America's history, but also the future of all Elk functions when, at remote Kill Devil Hills at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville Wright sent the 750 pound Wright Brothers "flyer" into the air under its own power. The little 12 horsepower gas engine kept the aircraft aloft for a period of 59 seconds and spanned a distance of 852 feet over the sand. Orville Wright died in 1912 but Wilbur Wright lived to see their invention change the face of transportation, and he passed away in 1948.
In 1904, America was gripped by a panic when a New York City cook, Mary Mallon, nicknamed "Typhoid Mary" because she carried the dread disease, caused an epidemic on Long Island, then dropped out of sight before she could be isolated. On April 19, 1904, we welcomed Lodge No. 907 to the Order in Latrobe, the town where Dr. David Strickler invented the "Banana Split" at his Drug Store on Ligonier Street. With a beautiful ceremony performed by the Apollo Lodge No 386 in the Masonic Hall, the 44 Charter Members of the Latrobe Elks Lodge then chose L.C. Thomas as the first Exalted Ruler. Leroy Fleming was elected as Leading Knight, B.A.Wright as Loyal Knight, and H.D. Huffman as Lecturing Knight. The first Latrobe Secretary was J.A. Rodgers with W.C. Russell as Treasurer, Albert Abbaticchio as Tiler, A.A. Strong as Esquire and H.E. McAfoos as Chaplain. R.E. Householder was the Inner Guard, the Organist was L.H Cort and the Trustees were W.A. Showalter, W.F. Eberhart and E.F. Saxman.
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, Ohio.
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 Program. In Pennsylvania, Harrisburg Lodge No. 241 was reorganized as Lodge No. 12, using the Lodge number obtained from California by PGER Meade D. Detweiler.
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 Buffalo, New York, where they passed a resolution to have all bonafide Past Exalted Rulers be made Grand Lodge members for life.
As for the Lodges instituted here in Pennsylvania in 1905, the Shenandoah Lodge merged with the Mahanoy City on October 24, 1984, and the Sheraden Lodge, located in Pittsburgh's West End, was declared defunct on March 5, 1979. The Ambridge Lodge, a facility that was so busy during two world wars, was declared defunct on June 1, 1988; in June of 1998, ten years after the demise of the Ambridge Lodge, their Lodge assets of some $32,000 was given to our State Legacy Trust Fund. The members of the dedicated Ambridge Lodge served us well and this fine donation serves as a permanent remembrance for the once-great B.P.O. Elks Ambridge Lodge No. 983 in the Beaver Valley.
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, 1906. The Gettysburg Lodge had been requested by Lawrence Williams, G. Riddlemaer and twelve others, with their first elected Exalted Ruler being W.C. Sheely. On April 1, 1908, the members of the Lebanon Lodge No. 631 moved to larger quarters in the Schenk Building on Cumberland Street, but for Elkdom, another auspicious event took place when the Pennsylvania Elks State Association was founded in Harrisburg on March 8, 1906.
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 Pennsylvania Elks Lodges, and Keystone State Elks have worked together since to help others.
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 Scranton Lodge No. 123, as State President, a post he held until 1908. William M. Benham of Pittsburgh Lodge No. 11 was elected First Vice President, with the Second Vice President, R.N. Keck, hailing from the Allentown Lodge No. 130. Frank Stehle was the Third Vice President, and came from Altoona Lodge No. 102. Secretary Morgaridge retained his post, while the Association's first Treasurer was George G.F. Falkenstein of McKeesport Lodge No. 136.
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 Denver, Colorado, resulted in the election of Henry A. Melvin, a member of the Oakland. California, Lodge No. 171, by 1255 delegates from the 1042 Elks Lodges in America, but disaster also brought the B.P.O.E. to action in 1906 with the great San Francisco Earthquake. There, within twelve hours, the Oakland Elks Lodge had set up a complete "Tent City," and had even sent the first food into the decimated city before our own government could react to the situation. In all, Elks Lodges nationwide contributed some $110,000 donated by their members to the victims of that tragedy.
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 Wilmington, Delaware, Post Office in an effort to raise money to fight tuberculosis, a major national Elks charity for many years. On January 23, 1907, our Jersey Shore Lodge No. 1057 began serving Lycoming County, and on February 28th the reorganized Bradford Lodge No. 1061, formerly Bradford Lodge No. 234, was instituted, followed by Columbia Lodge No. 1074 on May 22nd. The first Lodge officers at Columbia were Exalted Ruler Charles A. Fleckstein, Leading Knight Philip M. Hoover, Loyal Knight Luther J. Schroeder, Lecturing Knight John A. Kennedy and Secretary W. M. D. Miller.
Coraopolis Lodge No. 1090, in Allegheny County, was Instituted on October 4th; Bellefonte Lodge No. 1094 on October 6th and Middletown Lodge No. 1092 on October 10th, 1907.
In 1907, another development took place in Pennsylvania that would affect the Elks with the invention of paper towels by Irvin and Clarence Scott of Philadelphia.
At the Grand Lodge Convention of 1907, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Brother Tener of the Charleroi Lodge was unanimously elected as GER by 1,912 delegates from the Order's 1081 Lodges. But John Tener's year was to see tragedy strike just a few miles from his Charleroi home when the Jacobs Creek Coal Mine blew up in Westmoreland County, and one of GER Tener's first duties was to send $500.00 to aid the families of the victims.
We want to point out that John Kinley Tener, who was born in 1875 in County Tyrone, Ireland, was a natural leader who earned the respect of his Elk comrades and everyone he met. The founder of the Middle Atlantic Baseball League in Southwestern Pennsylvania, John K. Tener was not only the only foreign-born Governor of Pennsylvania, serving in that capacity from 1911 to 1915, but he simultaneously pursued the tough duties of being President of the National Baseball League.
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 Chicago. A successful Washington County Banker, PGER John K. Tener, an Elk of legendary accomplishments, passed away in 1946 and is buried in the Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh.
The Elks enjoyed a total of 1119 Lodges staffed by 284,321 members when 1908 got under way, and Pennsylvania added to the growth that year with the Bangor Lodge No. 1106 Instituted on February 25th and the Berwick Lodge No. 1138 on November 16th, 1908. William D. Benham of Pittsburgh Lodge No. 11 was elected as State President, and 1050 delegates gathered at the 1908 Dallas, Texas Grand Lodge Convention where a member of the Colorado Springs, Colorado, Lodge No. 309, Rush L. Holland, was elected as Grand Exalted Ruler. Elk members in the Wilkes-Barre Lodge No. 109 welcomed the "Matheson" to their city in 1908, while the "Imperial" was gracing the streets on Williamsport with its 5.5 liter engine and a price tag of a whopping $2,500.00! Although most of these Pennsylvania cars lasted for periods of from one to several years, many became the basis for several still-recognizable names.
Lodges Instituted in Pennsylvania in 1908 included Freeland Lodge No. 1145 on March 17th; Sayre Lodge No. 1148 on March 30th and the Philipsburg Lodge No. 1173 on September 14th. In Philadelphia, a native West Virginia school-marm, Anna Jarvis, observed the first official "Mother's Day" there on May 10th, 1908.
Other notable Pennsylvania events of 1908 included Hoopes Bros. & Thomas Company Nursery in West Chester shipping the first Cherry Trees to Washington. D.C., and Rose Cecil O'Neil of Wilkes-Barre introducing the "Kewpie Doll" in the December issue of the 1908 Ladies Home Journal. Army Lts. Frank P. Lahm and Frederic E. Humphreys became our first military pilots in 1908.
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 Pennsylvania was the Knoxville Lodge No. 1196, located in a community in what is now Pittsburgh's Southside. Instituted on April 15, 1910, the Knoxville Lodge survived until July 17, 1986, when the remaining members surrendered their charter and merged with Pittsburgh Lodge No. 11.
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 Ohio. Taft, while attending the opening game in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1910, was asked if he would like to toss out the "game" ball to the catcher. Remaining to watch the game, the President tired of sitting on the hard seats and decided to stand and stretch. This move came in the seventh inning and the entire crowd arose from their own seats out of respect; both traditions are still with us. In York, the home of York Lodge No. 213, auto manufacturing came to town during 1910 in the form of the "Kline Kar," a model that used in in-house engine but eventually went to the more dependable Continental engine. The Kline firm moved to Richmond, Virginia in 1913 and York is now world famous as the home of the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle and York Barbells.
In 1911, with State President John J. Mathias of Mahanoy City Lodge No. 695 at the helm, Pennsylvania native Ray Harroun won the first Indianapolis 500 race while introducing the first "Rearview Mirror." In 1911, the 19,535 pound anchor for the USS ARIZONA was cast in Chester, Pennsylvania, and a Dayton, Ohio, native, Charles F. Kettering, made the automobile more pleasurable with the invention of a self-starter. Making the use of the automobile easier for many drivers, Kettering's innovative mechanism created a new round of travel between Elks Lodges in Pennsylvania.
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 Rochester Lodge No. 283 officers, Beaver County's first Elks Lodge.
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 Pennsylvania disaster, and during the 1912 State Convention at Mahanoy City, F.J. Shrader of the Allegheny Lodge No. 339 was chosen to be our newest State President.
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, Arizona became our 48th State. Thomas B. Mills, a member of the Superior, Wisconsin, Lodge No. 403, had taken the reins as GER at the Grand Lodge Session in Portland, Oregon, and this was attended by 1236 delegates from 1226 Elks Lodges. The Boys Scouts of America, then just two years old in America, announced their first Eagle Scout in 1912; A. R. Eldred of Oceanside, on New York's Long Island. In Berwick, home of Berwick Lodge No. 1138, the "Multiplex," a large 50 HP gaspowered automobile, was being manufactured; but its prohibitive $3,600 price tag was its demise in 1914.
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 New York World."
It was 1914 when the first Road Map for motorists, that of Allegheny County, appeared in Pittsburgh under the sponsorship of the Gulf Oil Company. The map was the idea of Pittsburgher William Akin, who prepared it and promoted through his advertising firm. Charles H. Kline of the York Lodge No. 213 was elected as State President for 1914. The "Dile," made in Reading and selling for just $485.00, lasted until 1918 and little more is known about its construction specifications.
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 Bedford that had served us since 1903, and it was dedicated on July 8, 1916. In 1915 in Schuylkill County, Tamaqua High School slammed the St. Clair High School team by 194 to 0 to set what remains as the all-time Pennsylvania Football scoring record; but the creation of new Elks Lodges was slowing in Pennsylvania. The 1916 State President, as voted in by the delegates to the State Convention at Reading, was O.K. Cowell of Sunbury Lodge No. 267.
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 Erie, and we welcomed the Lansford Lodge No. 1337 on June 21, 1916. The Lansford facility survived until January 12, 1988, when it was merged with the Tamaqua Lodge No. 592. In Beavertown, the Kearns Motor Company released a small "Kearns Model L" that closely imitated the popular Ford "Model T" and one of these Kearns vehicles is on permanent display at the Pennsylvania State Museum in Harrisburg.
However, a Philadelphia firm, Merchant and Evans, was wowing more affluent Elk members at Philadelphia Lodge No. 2 with the luxurious "Club," a huge car featuring a two speed rear axle tied to a powerful and very exclusive "American & British" engine. Wealthy bankers could buy as many as five shares of the "Club" stock per year, and this gave the purchaser the ability to obtain one car per share per year, thus giving their closest friends and relatives a chance to own one, all without having the general public have an equal opportunity to become owners.
The Brownsville Lodge No. 1344 was Instituted on May 3, 1917, and the Order, led now by GER Fred Harper of Lynchburg, Virginia, Lodge No. 321, had 1286 Lodges and 474,690 members. In 1917 delegates to the State Convention at Shamokin elected Thomas J. Jennings of Scranton Lodge No. 123 as State President, and playing card games had evolved into a pleasurable pastime since most Lodges had by now installed electric lights.
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 operations to Philadelphia in 1921 and used Herschell & Spillman engines from Sharon, Pa. in their last model in 1923.
On April 1, 1917, the Lebanon Lodge No. 631 laid the cornerstone for what is still their home at 9 Ninth Street in Lebanon, and it was formally dedicated on June 11, 1918.
Ellwood City Lodge No. 1356, the third new Lodge in Pennsylvania during WW I, was Instituted on April 3, 1918, with S.A. Roeloffs as the first Exalted Ruler. The 1918 State Convention at York saw James B. Yard of the Erie Lodge No. 67 selected to serve as State President, while Frank Conrad's "8XK" radio station in Wilkinsburg, the future site of the Wilkinsburg Lodge, played music heard on handmade crystal radios in the area; the forerunner of today's KDKA radio. The "Great War" years saw the Joseph Horne Company in Pittsburgh offer the first mass-produced radio receivers in the world; all for the magnificent sum of $5.00 each.
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 Battle Of Hastings, and was brought here by Charles Algernon Sidney Vivian in 1867.
Vivian had been a member of the Royal Antedeluvian Order Of Buffaloes in England and this was a great tradition that needed to be perpetuated when he formed the Jolly Corks in New York City. Thus, the legend says that, when asked what his intentions were in the signing of the Armistice, General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing, a life member of the New York Lodge No. 1, chose the "Eleventh Hour" motif due to his intimate and oft-quoted knowledge of the great history of the Elks.
But 1918 brought the greatest honor and recognition to the Elks in the form of a 700-bed reconstruction hospital in Boston. The hospital, as well as other wartime activities had been chaired by PGER John K. Tener of the Charleroi Lodge, and GI's returning from Europe were sent to this state-of-the-art medical facility paid for entirely by the proud and dedicated members of the B.P.O.E.
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 Pennsylvania by Benjamin Franklin and modernized in Pittsburgh by Robert Garland. The energy saving movement of the clock began operation on March 31, 1918, and all Americans now know to "Spring Ahead" each April and "Fall Behind" every October.
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 Pennsylvania --- BINGO! Originated in Pittsburgh by Hugh J. Ward, who ran his novelty game at carnivals, Ward helped to introduce it nationwide in 1924, and then secured a copyright on the game. In fact, a book of "Bingo Rules" appeared in 1933.
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 Pennsylvania. This was also the year that mining deaths began a steady decline with the advent of greater safety measures and during the period from 1902 to 1920, Pennsylvania was averaging 525 mining accident fatalities each year.
Harrisburg was the site of the manufacture of the "Hunter" in 1920, but the large vehicle of a 120 inch wheelbase sported a six cylinder motor and a large pricetag of $3,500.00. It disappeared in 1921.
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 within Pennsylvania Elks Lodges --- "shaving" a candidate, having him "walk" on glass and even firing off blank pistols behind unsuspecting initiates to unnerve them; perhaps even make them wonder if all this was worth it!
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.
Hanover greeted its own car, the "Parenti," in 1922, with it's Falls-manufactured V-8 powerplant; it ceased operation in 1922. The 1923 State Convention was held at Erie, and Harry I. Koch of Allentown Lodge No. 130 was chosen as State President.
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 Pennsylvania on March 15, 1924, when the Allegheny Lodge No. 339 was destroyed by fire. The Allegheny Lodge proudly dedicated their new building on March 5, 1926.
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 Wilkes-Barre Lodge No. 109, our Frackville Lodge No. 1533 came into being in Schuylkill County. The year also saw U.S Route 30, Pennsylvania's "Lincoln Highway," completed as the first coast-to-coast highway, while Dorothy Lieb Harrison Wood Eustis, a native of Radnor, Pennsylvania, developed the great "Seeing Eye Dog" Program for the Visually Handicapped. PGER Charles H. Grakelow of Philadelphia Lodge No. 2 ended his term just as Alexander Fleming English brought lifesaving Penicillin to the world, and our nationwide membership stood at 815,664 in 1,404 Lodges.
At the Grand Lodge Convention of 1927 at Cincinnati, Ohio, John F. Malley of Springfield, Massachusetts, Lodge No. 61 became the Grand Exalted Ruler with the blessing of 1,878 delegates. The following year Brother Malley conceived and brought to life the Elks National Foundation, now the lifeblood of all Elks charitable programs. With a "seed" fund of $100,000 coming from the Grand Lodge, Brother Malley's brilliant concept has given us an efficient way to provide monies for all Elk Charities; by using only the dividends after the money is invested wisely.
Today, from the Elks National Foundation, still funded strictly on a voluntary contribution basis, Pennsylvania has realized nearly $1.70 for every $1.00 we have contributed; and yet not one penny of our dues money has ever been used! It was on March 28, 1928, that the members of the Tyrone Lodge No. 212 moved into their new headquarters on Logan Avenue in Tyrone. The Lodge also recognized their newly formed Ladies Auxiliary at that time and accepted the ladies first gift, a new piano for the Lodge.
The momentous year of 1928 saw Howard L. Davis of the Williamsport Lodge No. 173 elected State President at Conneaut Lake Park in Crawford County; Davis would later serve as Grand Exalted Ruler.
In 1929, a Detroit businessman, Arthur Sherman, gave new horizons to Elk members when he designed and built America's first travel trailer. Sherman, who owned and operated Sherman Laboratories, produced 300 of the canvas-covered mobile home contraptions under the name "Covered Wagon," selling them for $250.00 each. Today, the Elks publish a complete list of all Lodges in the country who can accommodate members and their Recreational Vehicles as they travel the nation.
Pennsylvania's next Grand Exalted Ruler, in 1930-1931, was Lawrence H. Rupp of the Allentown Lodge No. 130, now defunct, but in 1930 we also welcomed what would become America's number one sweet-treat, the "Twinkie." Invented in Chicago, the tasty little filled cake was named after the "Twinkle Toe" Shoe that was so popular in that era.
Pennsylvania gained another new Lodge with the opening of Grove City Lodge No. 1579 on May 6, 1930. During his year Brother Lawrence Rupp of Allentown oversaw the Order's first Grand Lodge Ritual Contest, with first place going to Wilmington, Ohio Lodge No. 797, the runner-up position to the Norwood, Massachusetts, Lodge No. 1124, and third place to the Cocoa, Florida, Lodge No. 1532. Travel among Elks Lodges in Pennsylvania received a big boost in 1931 when Governor Gifford Pinchot had the state take over 21,115 miles of dirt roads, then began paving them at a cost of $7,000.00 a mile.
In 1930, word came that a legendary Western Outlaw, the "Sundance Kid,' had been killed in Bolivia some years earlier. This is of interest to Pennsylvania Elk members because the "Sundance Kid," whose real name was Harry Longabaugh, was born in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania in February of 1866, and moved west as a youngster. Harry adopted his criminal sobriquet from the time he did in the Sundance Prison in the Old West, and his teammate in crime was Robert Leroy Parker, equally famous as "Butch Cassidy."
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.
In Butler, members of the Butler Lodge No. 170 supported vehicles made by the Bantam or American Austin Motor Company. The little four cylinder cars sold for $445.00 but were not manufactured between 1933 and 1937. That was when designer Alexis de Sahkanoffski redid the vehicle as the "New Bantam." Station wagons and pickup trucks were also manufactured at the Butler plant until WW II, when the prototype of the legendary "Jeep" was constructed and was made there until the mid-1940's.
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, Pennsylvania's delegates traveled to Williamsport to elect a new State President, William D. Hancher of Washington Lodge No. 776. The association then selected Grover Shoemaker of Bloomsburg Lodge No. 436 as State President in 1937 at Lancaster, and then met in session in New Castle in 1938, where Edward D. Smith of Lewistown Lodge No. 663 took the reins as State President.
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 America into another global conflict; Wilbur G. Warner of Lehighton Lodge No. 1284 was the Elks State President during the crucial year of 1941. The Pennsylvania Turnpike became a vital link in transporting war materiels, with one Turnpike bridge being subjected to one unsuccessful attempt at sabotage during the years of WW II. German agents were captured in 1942 as they plotted to destroy the famed Horseshoe Curve in Altoona.
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 Pennsylvania, or about one-eighth of what our population numbered at that time. This was from a total of 1.25 million Keystone State residents, and they included George C. Marshall of Uniontown, the U.S. Army Chief-Of-Staff, General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold of Gladwynne, the leader of the U.S. Army Air Force, and Generals Jacob L. Devers of York, Joseph T. McNarney of Emporium, Carl Spaatz of Boyertown, Lewis H. Brereton of Pittsburgh and Lebanon's Alexander M. Patch all in vital leadership positions. In 1942 the delegates met at Erie to elect Kenelm L. Shirk of Lancaster Lodge No. 134 as State President.
Pennsylvania was also home to Admirals Harold S. Stark of Wilkes-Barre and Richard S. Edwards and Thomas C. Kinkead of Philadelphia. How many Elks served is not known, but we do know it was a considerable number. On Christmas Eve, 1944, the "SS LEOPOLDVILLE" was sunk off Cherbourg, France, taking with her 71 Pennsylvania soldiers, including two sets of twins.
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 Pennsylvania's homes to make ammunition and other war tools.
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 Pennsylvania Elks Lodge would come forth. In April 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a life member of Poughkeepsie Lodge No. 275 in New York, died at Warm Springs, Georgia. Our Oakmont Lodge No. 1668 was Instituted two weeks earlier on March 25, 1945, just about six months before the first Atomic Bomb was dropped. Authorized by Brother Harry S. Truman of Lodge No. 26 in Kansas City, Missouri, the first device was exploded above Hiroshima, Japan, and the second struck Nagasaki a few days later to signal the end of World War II. Nine American POW's perished in the bomb's destructive blast at Hiroshima!
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 Pennsylvania where so many residents have served the nation since it was formed in 1776.
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 Chicago to all American Veterans. Rededicated on September 8, 1946, the American Flag used during the ceremony was raised by John Bradley, a member of the Appleton, Wisconsin, Lodge No. 337. "Jack" Bradley, a Navy Corpsmen, was one of the men who helped raise Old Glory above Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945. Another Marine who held that huge Flag, Sgt. Michael Strank, was a native of Franklin, Pa. Sgt. Strank died a few days later in fighting with entrenched Japanese forces on a nearby island.
The inspirational flag raising photo on Mt. Suribachi, snapped by War Correspondent Joe Rosenthal, became the defining picture of WW II, and one of the observers was a young Marine Officer, Charles E. "Chuck" McGinley. A native of Titusville, Pa., Chuck attained the rank of Major, and he then taught in the Penn Hills School District while serving the Pennsylvania Elk Lodges faithfully as a member of the Oakmont Lodge No. 1668. Following his election to State President in 1972-1973, Chuck McGinley also gave his talents as a leader during his tenure as a member of the Board of Grand Trustees, a post he held for five productive years.
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 Kansas City, Missouri, Lodge No. 26. Also in 1947, a young Latrobe High School golfer, Arnold Palmer, won the State Golf Championship, and the 1947 State Convention, held at Erie, saw Regis J. Maloney of Reynoldsville Lodge No. 519 emerge as State President. Arnie is a member of the Latrobe Lodge No. 907.
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 Monongahela Valley until October 31, 1948, killing twenty residents while hospitalizing another 7,000 people. However, while the Donora Smog was America's first air quality tragedy, it accomplished at least one positive thing in bringing about the Nation's first workable Air Pollution Laws.
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 Bay City, Michigan, Lodge No. 89 in 1950. The Elks Post War membership had risen from 792,339 persons in 1,433 Lodges in 1946 to 1,041,264 members in 1,586 Lodges in 1951, the same year that E. Earl Pitzer of Gettysburg Lodge No. 1045 was elected as State President at Williamsport. The convention site was appropriate since Howard R. Davis, a popular member of the of Williamsport Lodge No. 173, was later elected Grand Exalted Ruler at the 1951 Grand Lodge Convention at Chicago, Illinois.
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 of the Ashland Lodge No. 384, was elected as State President at the Convention in Harrisburg. Barney played for the forerunner of the Washington Redskins, the Pottsville Maroons, who won the NFL title in 1925. The Pottsville Maroons, in existence from 1925 through 1928, were owned and managed by Dr. J.G. Striegel, and all Maroons home games were played at the Minersville A.A. Park, the site of the present day King's Village Shopping Plaza. Dr. Streigel purchased the Pottsville NFL franchise for $2,500, and in their first season the Maroons won the league championship.
However, after scheduling and playing Notre Dame at Philadelphia's Shibe Park, the Frankford Yellowjackets protested the Pottsville Maroon's game as an infringement on their territory. Franchise lines, clearly defined and enforced by the National Football League, saw the Maroons stripped of their hard-won championship; but after paying a hefty $2,500.00 fine, the Pottstown Maroons were reinstated in the NFL. The team placed third in 1926 and eighth in 1927 and 1928, and in 1929, the franchise moved to Boston, and a few years later, the old Pottsville Maroons franchise was transferred to Washington, D.C. as the familiar Washington Redskins.
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 Beaver County, the first to use atomic power for peaceful endeavors.
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 for Delaware and Montgomery counties, was an attempt to get a Lodge back in the Philadelphia area. But the Del-Mont Lodge was declared defunct on February 29, 1988, and its members merged into the West Chester Lodge No. 853.
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 Pennsylvania Lodge received its Institution date as the Meyersdale Lodge No. 1951 came into being with the following as the first elected officers: Exalted Ruler H.J. Beamer, Leading Knight Ralph Rosenberger, Loyal Knight Robert Hook and S.R. Philson as Lecturing Knight. Glenn A Suter was voted in as Secretary, Barrow Shipley as Treasurer, Stanley A. Thomas as Esquire, Ware Deeter as Tiler, Russell K. Showalter as Chaplain and Hubert Lenhart as Inner Guard. The first Meyersdale Lodge Trustees were William F. Woulard, Owen B. Louver, Nathaniel S. Freidline, Harold Schweinberg and Grant Atwell; the organist was Edward G. Wilson.
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 Pennsylvania.
The State President for Pennsylvania in 1956, A. Lewis Heisey, was a member of Middletown Lodge No. 1092, and he was in office when the Fairless Hills Lodge No. 2023 opened their Lodge doors on March 15, 1957. That same year the ABC Network's highly respected Ted Malone dedicated a program to our Elks Youth Day, and Army Captain Harry A. Cramer of Lakewood, CO was, tragically, the first American to be killed in Vietnam.
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 session at Pittsburgh to select a new State President: James P. Ebersberger of the Latrobe Lodge No. 907 in the West Central District.
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, Northampton Lodge No. 2189, Instituted on August 14th, and the Towanda Lodge No. 2191 Instituted on September 25th.
The Northampton Lodge forfeited its charter on February 3, 1970, and Monroeville's membership merged with Norwin Lodge No. 2313 on August 2, 1983. The 1960 State Convention site was Harrisburg, and from that session we elected M.B. Klinesmith of the Grove City Lodge No. 1579 as our newest State President.
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 West Shore Lodge No. 2257 in Camp Hill, on March 25, 1962. GER Donaldson was chosen to serve the Order at the Chicago Grand Lodge Session by 2,893 happy delegates.
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 State College Lodge No. 1600 serving as our State President.
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 Franklin J. Fitzpatrick, PSP Homer Huhn, Jr. assumed the post of Grand Secretary in January of 1971. Homer was elected to the position at the 1971 Grand Lodge Convention and served faithfully until his election as Grand Exalted Ruler in 1977 at New Orleans, Louisiana. The 1971 Grand Lodge Convention saw PSP H. Beecher Charmbury, of the State College Lodge, assume the post of Chairman of the Board of Grand Trustees, a successful term that ended in 1972.
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 "Gulf of Tonkin Incident" was fresh in America's mind when the Norwin Lodge No. 2313 was Instituted on December 13, 1964, with an initial Initiation of over 100 members. The Clarion Lodge No. 2315 was Instituted on January 17, 1965, and the last Elks Lodge Instituted in Pennsylvania was the Phil-Mont Lodge No. 2345 on May 28, 1966 as the 1965-1966 State President, Earl W. Kunsman, Sr. of Bethlehem Lodge No. 191 was leaving office.
The 1966-1967 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 Philadelphia and Montgomery County names. The Phil-Mont Lodge survived until January 6, 1976, when, like Del-Mont Lodge No. 1936, it was absorbed into the Norristown Lodge No. 714.
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 Disease" in Philadelphia.
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 Pittsburgh, the popular item was added to McDonald menus nationwide in 1968. The 1968 State Elks Convention selected a member of the Sayre Lodge No. 1148, Nicholas P. Chacona, as State President at Pittsburgh.
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 former 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 Franklin Lodge No. 110 was elected State President in 1987 as we began a twelve year stint at Seven Springs.
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 Pennsylvania since 1871, 114 survive in 2000 as active Lodges in a state that is second only to Florida in Senior Citizen population. But we also have one of every ten Veterans in America living here, with Allegheny County claiming more Veterans than any other community in America, and the Elks in Pennsylvania have been caring for America's disabled veterans since 1871.
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 Bangor Lodge No. 1106, we embarked with confidence in 1999-2000 on the third century to be touched by the compassion of Elkdom in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Elks State Association, headquartered at 1249 North Center Avenue in Somerset, Pensylvania, has ten districts comprising 114 Lodges situated in 54 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties; the Metropolitan District being the only district where all Lodges are in one county, Allegheny. Our smallest Lodge is Clarion and the largest is State College, while the most widely-dispersed district is the Northeast. The members of the Northeast: the Wilkes-Barre, Easton, Scranton, Hazleton, East Stroudsburg, Bangor, Freeland, Sayre, Lehighton and Towanda Lodges always make an enjoyable weekend of their Northeast District Meetings since many have to stay overnight to attend.
The Pennsylvania Elks State Association has elected 92 State Presidents from 64 different Lodges, and six of these Lodges are now defunct. We have given the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks a total of 11 Grand Exalted Rulers, five of them since the formation of the State Association, and our involvement with the Grand Lodge includes three Grand Secretaries and a trio of Grand Treasurers, the last Pennsylvania member to hold this office being Howard W. Schran of Etna Lodge No. 932, our State Association President in 1982-1983. We have also had three chairmen of the Board of Grand Trustees and one Grand Forum Chairman.
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 Danville Lodge No. 754.
It was on September 1, 1985, that PSP William P. Pickett, also a member of the Butler Lodge No. 170, took over as the Executive Director of the beautiful Elks National Home in Bedford, Virginia. Under Bill Pickett's leadership we have seen the National Home progress from a place designed for men only to its present renovation work where women and couples are now in residence. In fact, on June 28, 1999, Betty Good, a member of the Lynchburg, Virginia, Lodge, became the first female Elk to take up residence at the Elks National Home. Several Pennsylvanians are enjoying life at the Elks National Home as this is written, and we encourage all Lodges to send them cards for their birthdays and other important dates such as Christmas, etc.
We actively seek from all members new information about our proud Pennsylvania Elks State Association. As facts and anecdotes surface we'll add to make the Pennsylvania Elks has the most accurate state history possible. However, to do this right, we need your full cooperation; so, if you have any true facts or figures that we can use, please contact us right away and we can make additions, deletions or corrections immediately for the next printing.
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 Harrisburg Airport. There were a total of forty military installations in Pennsylvania, with the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot making the nation's first 49 star Flag when Alaska was admitted to the Union. An LST, the "USS Allegheny County," was built and launched at the Dravo shipyards near Coraopolis in 1943, and its full cost was paid for by the school children of Allegheny County.
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 Elks Cerebral Palsy Program, began offering hope and independence to thousands of disabled Pennsylvania citizens. Spearheaded by PSP James P. Ebersberger (1959-1960) of the Latrobe Lodge No. 907, this unique program saw RN Betty Stewart make the first visit to an Elks client in Irwin in Westmoreland County. Now employing Pat O'Connor RN, as Program Director and Margie Wood RN as Assistant Director, our 23 other Registered Nurses cover all 67 counties and the Elks project suits Pennsylvania quite well, since it was a Pennsylvania resident, Mollie Woods Hare, who pioneered a viable and effective teaching system for the mentally challenged in America.
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 Wilkins Township and both the Grove City and Butler Lodges began building new Lodge facilities in 1999. The Danville Lodge had their official opening ceremony at their new Lodge on Rt. 11 on November 14, 1999, while members of the Greenville Lodge enjoyed a remodeled Lodge room in 2000. Extensive renovations were also completed in the Carlisle Lodge and in the Pittsburgh South Hills Lodge.
Our Pennsylvania Elks Major Projects, the Home Service Nurses Program, has been widely acknowledged as being the finest project of its kind in Pennsylvania and has even been formally recognized by the state legislature in the past. The latest recognition, made possible through the compassion and generosity of the Pennsylvania Elks Lodge members, came on November 9, 1999, in Harrisburg when we received honors from the Pennsylvania Department of Health "Special Kids Network." The next day, November 10, 1999, the program was again honored in Pittsburgh with a Care Givers "Humanitarian Award."
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 Union, and indeed the Keystone of Elkdom itself. We've earned the distinction of anchoring Elkdom since Pennsylvania has embraced the Order from the beginning of New York Lodge No. 1 and the Grand Lodge.
On the following pages is a chronological order of Lodge Institutions in Pennsylvania, as well as the lists of the known Past District Deputy Grand Exalted Rulers from each district. If you have knowledge of those not listed or can provide a year for others, any information at all, please contact us and we can revise this for any future printings, and also keep it on file in the State Office in Somerset for anyone looking for such information in the future.
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 Pennsylvania Elk State Association officials prior to the printing of this history. Thus, we have included all changes, additions and corrections prompted by the responses we received as per our request.
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 Somerset, Pennsylvania. and will be accessible to all persons with an interest in the good deeds done by Pennsylvania's B.P.O.E. membership.
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)