Griffin Elks Lodge History
This is taken from Georgia Elks News, October 2000. It was written by Doug Patterson, Past State President and currently Historian.
One of the more interesting natives of this fine city was born here in 1852 and was Baptized here as John Henry Holliday. He went on to become a dentist and moved west because of his health and later became famous as a gambler and gunslinger (Doc Holliday). Doc was never an Elk. But, became good friends with Wyatt Earp, who was a member of the Santa Monica Elks Lodge.
Griffin, in the early years, had several manufacturing companies located here. In fact one of the first Elk Reunion (Convention) pins was that of a baby with a towel wrapped around it and referred to Griffin as the "Towel Town." One of these pins is on display in our Historical Room and was donated by Barbara Middlebrooks of the Albany Auxiliary. Today, Griffin still has several manufacturing companies and one of the largest makes socks. So, if you are in the need of socks, there is a famous outlet store here.
The Griffin Elks Lodge No. 1207 was chartered in 1910 on July 7th. There were twenty-nine charter members to be initiated that evening in the Odd Fellow's Hall. It was decorated with flags and banners, as were some of the businesses. The Atlanta Lodge No. 78 was the sponsor and Atlanta's Degree Team handled the initiation. The Atlanta Lodge, about one hundred strong, arrived by train in Griffin that afternoon about 5:00 pm. They brought with them their Elks Band and Drum Corps. Most of the twenty-nine candidates were marched down to the train station tied to a rope and some of the older candidates were in a cage made of chicken wire and placed on the back of a truck. Also there to meet the Atlanta delegation were forty Elks from Macon Lodge wearing white uniforms. The entire delegation formed a parade back to the Odd Fellow's Hall, and the one hundred strong from Atlanta Lodge along with Macon, LaGrange, Columbus, Carrollton, Milledgeville, Gainesville and other lodges with the candidates paraded and "hooped it up" through the streets of Griffin.
Col. Walter P. Andrews, Past Grand Exalted Ruler, was the Exalted Ruler of the Atlanta Lodge at the time and after the initiation a banquet was held and it was said that things went so well that more "wet goods" had to be brought in from Atlanta. The special train that was to return to Atlanta was scheduled to depart at midnight. Things were going so good, the train didn't depart for Atlanta until 4:00 am.
As you can tell, Griffin Elks Lodge got off to a great start. It was interesting to note that six out of the eight of Griffin's Board of Aldermen were charter members as were the City Clerk and Treasurer, the City Judge and the City Attorney. Over the years, Griffin Lodge had several homes and the present Lodge which was once known as the "Rainbow Club" was purchased in 1947 for $45,000 and sat on 50 acres. As you can tell, the property location gets better and better each day, even though the vote to buy the property passed by only one vote.
Griffin is a wonderful town and we have a great Lodge! Thanks go to departed brother Lewis H. Beck, Sr., Past Exalted Ruler and Charter Member of the Lodge, who wrote "History of Griffin Lodge No. 1207"
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