BPOE Facts and Dates
On May 9, 1961, the Grand Lodge Session created the "Americanism Committee." At the Grand Lodge Session of 1946, the word "God" replaced the words "a believer in the existence of a Supreme Being." On Dec. 1, 1893, the B.P.O.E. banned Sunday meetings on a resolution made at the 1892 Grand Lodge Session by Percy G. Williams of Brooklyn Lodge No. 22. In 1972 the Veteran's Administration Volunteer Service requested that the Elks start a local, state & national Veterans Arts & Crafts Competition. The "Hotel Bedford," now the Elks National Home in Bedford VA, was purchased for $12,500.00 in 1902. On May 26, 1969, the Lodge Esquire's instructions on procedure was moved from the end of the initiation ceremony to its present position following the Obligation On June 14, 1949, President Harry S. Truman, a member of the Kansas City, MO Lodge No. 26, signed Public Law 203 designating June 14th as Flag Day in America. Flag Day has been a mandatory Lodge activity since 1911. On April 12, 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a member of the Poughkeepsie, NY, Lodge No. 275, died at Warm Springs, Georgia. In 1919, the use of the "Eleven O'clock Toast" on occasions where non-Elks were present was given official Grand Lodge permission. On April 18, 1906, the great San Francisco Earthquake took place and the B.P.O.E. beat the U.S. Government in setting up a tent city for refugees. In 1903 the original Elks National Home was dedicated in Bedford, Va. In 1952, the Elks discontinued the use of a blindfold during the Initiation Ritual, in 1972, GER Francis M. Smith proclaimed November as the first Elks "National Veterans Remembrance Month." From 1950 to 1952 the members of the B.P.O.E. supplied 600,000 pints of blood for GI's in Korea. In 1895 the BPOE was incorporated nationally. On Nov. 23, 1867, Charles Vivian, Richard Steirly, Cool Burgess, Henry Vandemark & Hugh Dougherty played the first game of "Jolly Corks" at Sandy Spencer's Bar at Broadway & Fulton in New York City. On June 12, 1939, the Baseball Hall of Fame opened in Cooperstown, NY, with a member of the Carnegie Elks Lodge, Honus Wagner, among the first players inducted. On March 17, 1936, Pittsburgh's "St. Patrick's Day" flood victims received $127,186.63 from the B.P.O.E. On Feb. 16, 1868, the "Jolly Cork" members voting for "The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes" were C.A.S. Vivian, R.R. Steirly, M.G. Ash, H. Vandemark, H. Bosworth, Frank Langhorne and E.W. Platt. Voting for the name "Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks" were W.F. MacDonald, G.W. Thompson, T.G. Riggs, W. Carleton, W. Sheppard, G. Guy, H. Dougherty and W.L. Bowron. The name "ELKS" was chosen by a committee viewing an Elk head at Barnum's Museum. On May 31, 1889, the tragic Johnstown Flood killed 2000 people, and the B.P.O.E. began its tradition of helping American citizens with a donation of thousands of dollars for relief. In 1970 the "Hoop Shoot" became an Oregon Elks state program, in 1972 was introduced nationwide. In 1976, GER George B. Klein dedicated Elks Hoop Shoot Plaque at Basketball Hall Of Fame. In 1907, GER Henry A. Melvin suggested acceptance of the Elks Flag Day Ritual, written in part by William M. Hargest of Harrisburg Lodge No. 12, and in 1911 Flag Day Ritual became a mandatory observance. 1916 the present Elks National Home was dedicated in Bedford, Virginia. The Elks Magazine began publication in 1922 with PGERs John K. Tener and J. Edgar Masters of Charleroi Lodge No. 494 on the Magazine Committee. In 1934 the Elks National Foundation "Most Valuable Student Program" was begun. In 1891 the Elks adopted the present Chair Officer designations, in 1896 the American Flag was added to the B.P.O.E. altar arrangement. In 1918, the B.P.O.E. built America's first Veteran's "Reconstruction" Hospital of 700 beds in Mass., and in 1923 the Elks donated to Government In 1874 the B.P.O.E. instituted the position of District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler. The "Jolly Corks," the beginning of the Elks, lasted from Nov. 25, 1867, to Feb. 15, 1868, and included their founder, Charles Algernon Sidney Vivian and E.M. Platt, F. Langhorne, William Carleton, William Sheppard, Richard R. Steirly, John T. Kent, H. Vandemark, H. Bosworth and M.G. Ashe. In 1969 the Pledge Of Allegiance was moved from the Lodge closing to the Lodge opening ceremony, and the singing of "God Bless America" was approved as an optional substitute for the opening Ode. In 1963 the call up of Lodge was reduced from four raps to three raps, with three raps used previously as a signal to remove the blindfold ( removed in 1952). In 1956 the Leading Knight began giving the charge when delivering Flag to Esquire. On Oct. 5, 1947, Brother Harry S. Truman, a member of the Independence, MO Lodge, makes the first televised presidential address. On Sept. 8, 1946, the Elks Memorial was rededicated in Chicago, and the man who pulled the American Flag aloft that day was Brother John "Jack" Bradley of Appleton, WI, one of the marines who raised the American Flag at Mt. Suribachi in Iwo Jima. On March 17, 1889, members of the Boston and Omaha Lodges bring the body of Charles A.S. Vivian to from Leadville, CO to Boston, MA where he is interred in the Elks Rest. On July 5, 1903, the present Elks emblem was adopted. On June 8, 1868, the first B.P.O.E. fund-raiser was held at the Academy Of Music at 14th Avenue and Irving Place in NYC. In 1923, the Green Bay Elks Lodge held a benefit to raise money for the Green Bay "Packers" Football Club. On Dec. 10, 1941, the Elks lost the Manila Lodge No. 761 to the Japanese invasion, and on Jan. 4, 1942, the Agana, Guam, Lodge No. 1281 was overrun; 489 Elk members and their families spent the remainder of the war in Japanese concentration camps. On March 20, 1870, the first Lodge of Sorrows was held for Brothers George E. Farmer and John W. Glenn; on the same date in 1880, the founder of the B.P.O.E., Charles Algernon Sidney Vivian, passed away of pneumonia in Leadville, CO. On Feb. 8, 1908, Elk member Frank E. Herring, an affiliate of the South Bend, IN Lodge, proposed a national Mother's Day. On Feb. 18, 1898, GER Meade D. Detwiler of Harrisburg Lodge No. 241 (Harrisburg didn't become Lodge No. 12 until 1904) secured the Elks first gavel, an ebony instrument made by "Jolly Cork" J. G. Wilton. on June 16, 1904, the members of the San Diego, CA Lodge No. 168 performed the first Elks Flag Day Service. On Feb. 12, 1871, Claude Goldie received a New York State Charter for the B.P.O.E.'s New York Lodge No. 1, and the first Grand Lodge meeting was called to order at 4:15 PM at 114-116 East 13th St. in New York City. On Nov. 1, 1937, the B.P.O.E. began a radio blitz aimed at safety on America's highways, a program that reduced fatalities by 27% during a thirteen week period. On Dec. 1, 1889, Allen O. Myers, a member of the Columbus Lodge No. 37 in Ohio, named the first Sunday of December as our great Elk Memorial Day. On Sept. 30, 1908, PGER John K. Tener of the Charleroi Lodge umpired a spirited baseball game between a team from Greensburg Lodge No. 511 and the Boston Red Sox, led by Cy Young; the Elks won by 2 - 0.
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