The History of Prescott 330, Arizona’s First Elk’s Lodge
EARLY HISTORY OF B.P.O.E. #330
A group of enterprising business men in Prescott, sturdy products of the early west, chartered the
original petition for dispensation to establish the Prescott Lodge. They were Jake Marks, Ben M.
Belcher, Harry W. Walters, James Griffin, Mack McCulloch, S.A. Prince, Albert Brow, T.B. Davis,
H.A. Rokohl, Z.H. Bagby, J.D. Moore, O.T. Abbot, Frank Frantz, FrankA. Cole, E.A. Kastner, B.H.
Smith, M.J. Hickey, D.J. Sullivan, W.W. Ross, A.A. Pace, Frank H. Williams, Robert Brow, A.J.
Herndon, Frank S. Emmal, J.W. Wilson, Alex Cordiner, William Ashton and T.E. Litt. These men
are the men who launched Lodge #330 on its successful career and, under the trails and discouragements
which best it in its early career and, steadfast to the great principles of the order in the belief
that some day their lodge and home would be a credit to the community.
WEST WAS WILD
What manner of men were these who, living in a "wild and wooly" western town in country that
was still government territory, decided to band together and affiliate the world? Due to the remarkable
memory and courtesy of many old time Prescott residents, it is possible to give "thumb nail
descriptions" of many of these pioneers.
Frank H. Williams was a city assessor and tax collector when that office was operated
separately from the country.
J.W. Wilson built the Wilson Block in Prescott, which is still standing. Mr. Wilson was a
A.J. Herndon was clerk of the court in territorial days, and an insurance agent.
E.A. Kastner was owner of Kastner's grocery.
M.J. Hickey, in partnership with Dennis Burke, ran the Burke Hotel which is now the St. Michael.
D.J Sullivan, was county assessor and had mining interests.
W.W. Ross owner of the Ross Drug Co.
S.A. Prince was Chief of Police for many years.
Dr. T.B. Davis was a veteran of the Civil War, and a charming and gallant gentleman of the
J.A. Rokohl was a former actor whose stage name was Gus Williams. He operated a hotel in
Prescott for many years.
Z.H. Bagby was a local merchant.
Jake Marks, First Exalted Ruler, operated a wholesale liquor company.
Ben Belcher, Barney Smith and Robert Brow were proprietors of the Palace Hotel and
Frank Williams (known as Sure-Shot Williams). How he received this moniker and whether
it referred to a horse named Sure-Shot, or to the gun toting ability of Mr. Williams remains
a moot question.
John J. Jones was a mining man in the McCabe area.
A.A. Pace operated the Prescott Steam Laundry.
It is to be regretted that information of the remaining charter members was not to be obtained;
however, there is no doubt that they were also rugged individualist and staunch citizens of Prescott.
The Naughty Nineties when men were two-fisted drinkers and women had three dresses
a year. The Spanish-American War-the remarkable World's Fair in Chicago -a man in Pittsburgh
put a moth on a carriage and tried to convince himself and neighbors that he didn't need a horse.
Folks back in Chicago were positive that nothing but war-like Indians inhabited the country west
of the Mississippi and the citizens of New York considered Chicago a far western settlement ...that
was the picture when Lodge #330 was born in Prescott, a thriving lusty little city of the Territory. At
this time, there were no other lodges in the state so the Prescott Lodge drew its membership from
all of Yavapai County.
J.E. Morrison was Exalted Ruler-The Elks lodged themselves in the Tilton Building=-
and.Whiskey Row burned to the ground. In other parts of the country-two brothers named
Wright built an ungainly contraption-took it to the tip of a hill-and actually flew it in the air.
They were jeered at and called Godless--Obviously man wasn't intended to fly or else he'd have
been born with wings ...San Francisco was the social and cultural city of the West and Pacific Street
was called the most wicked street in the world.
Train service was creeping further west-Prescott and all of the West was growing and very
obviously having growing pains. The Elks of Lodge #330 were bravely weathering financial difficulties,
and Whiskey Row, like the bird Phoenix, rose nobly from its own ashes. The membership
of the lodge was increasing and the population of Prescott kept step.
Jerome and Phoenix had both been instituted as B.P.O.E. Lodges by the Prescott Lodge.
Prescott's climate was luring the prominent people from all over the Territory into making this their
summer home. Prescott was the most famous town in the Territory, and due to the faith and labor of
its citizens, including the Elks, it soon grew from a gangling village to a compact and business-like
JUDGE SAM PATTEE
S.L. Pattee was Exalted Ruler when the cornerstone of the new lodge was laid in 1904. Money
raised for the erection of the building through bond issues and the first floor was complete in 1904.
1904 also saw the opening play at the Elks theatre-- The beggar Prince. The architect for the
theatre was Mr. Minor whose name should go down in history due to the remarkable acoustics of
Engineers from all over the west have visited the Elks Building Theatre in an attempt to explain
and copy the construction of the building-- but it seems impossible to explain just why this
theatre is so acoustically superlative .
STATE SIX YEARS
1918--Arizona had been a member of these United State for six years. Europe was broiling in
her own bad politics-and World War I --The "War to End all Wars" took it's toll of Prescott Elks.
The roaring twenties -prohibition-flappers-bootleg gin-easy money - a chicken in every pot
and two cars in every garage-- Prescott Elks prospered and added two more floors to their building.
The first floor now contained the theatre and offices -- the second floor the Federal Court Rooms
and the Third floor -- the Elks Club and Lodge rooms.
In 1921, Past Exalted Ruler, John Sweeney burned the mortgage for the building, on the stage
of the Elks Theatre. Mr Jacoby declared that it was largely due to the efforts of Past Exalted Ruler
E.H. Meeks that the building was made to prosper and become free and clear at such an early date.
The Elks Lodge, in 1917, was declared to be worth $65,000 with an annual income of $12,000.
Excerpts from the program of the opening performance of the Elks Theatre review the progress
and ideals of the club to 1905 better than any words of the present day.
Under a column titled "The Elks Building" is the following account:
Ever since the institution of Prescott Lodge No. 330, January 23, 1896, every energy has been
exerted toward the realization of the cherished hope that one day it would own a home from which
it could dispense its hospitality to its members and friends. The culmination of its hopes has been
reached in the completion of the Elks Theatre, and it feels what is hoped may be taken as pardonable
pride in the result of the persistent efforts which have been exerted.
The first tangible step in securing this magnificent structure in which the entire community
may feel pride, was taken on February 22, 1899, when the Exalted Ruler, Bro. T.B. Davis, appointed
a committee held a number of meetings, and, as a result submitted outline drawings prepared
by J.R. Minor. The plans contemplated a building of two stories and theatre practically upon
the lines of the present structure.
In order to have legal stature, on March 8, 1899, a committee consisting of Bros. J. Frank
Wilson, J.E. Morrison and H.B. Ross was appointed for the purpose of preparing articles of incorporation
and, on March 24th following, the committee made its report;
On May 2,1900, Bros. B.M. Belcher, J.A. Jaeger and C.J. Hicks were appointed a committee
to purchase 50 feet of the present site, and on December 5th, it was further instructed to purchase
the additional 50 feet.
While the efforts of the lodge were in no way abated, still it was not until October 30th 1901,
that the articles of incorporation of the Elks Building Association were adopted. They were prepared
by Bros. S.L. Pattee and J.E. Morrison, who were appointed for this purpose. It is under this
organization that the property of the lodge is now held.
Active steps were taken early in 1904 and J.R. Minor was chosen as the architect. The ground
was broken for the building early in January and, on May 1, 1904, the cornerstone was laid by the
Lodge assisted most kindly by the members of Phoenix Lodge No. 335.
While the original intention of the Lodge was the securing of a meeting place, at the request of
a number of citizens of Prescott, the theatre feature was added.
As an inducement toward securing this needed addition to our city, a large number of the
citizens aided us by purchasing stock in the association. The kindness of those so doing is greatly
appreciated as we trust the result to them justifies their faith in Prescott Lodge #330.
The cost of the building is Sixty-five Thousand dollars.
There, stripped of the worries, the arguments, the search for capital, the many things that beset
the builder, and particularly the lodge builder, is a short record of the early days of the Elks building.
Nothing there is said about the refinancing of the building which came later, but the position of
the lodge today and the Elks dominant architectural feature of the city, bear mute testimony to the
ability of the lodge and its members to meet and solve all problems.
The following, a reprint from the Prescott Courier, March 29, 1911, tells the interesting story
of the beginnings of the club:
"ELKS READY TO ESTABLISH CLUB"
Will be in charge of Chas. A. Snover
For several years there has been intermittently agitated the project of establishing an Elks
Club, and the agitation has finally borne fruit, for between the first and fifth of April, quarters will
be opened on the lower floor of the Elks Building with Chas. A. Snover as steward and manager.
Two rooms will be utilized for this purpose. The quarters formerly occupied by J.S. Acker will be
devoted to a reading and writing room, buffet and a kitchen in the rear. The adjoining will be given
over to billiard and pool tables. Both rooms are now being furnished and will be made as cozy and
comfortable as the finances permit. The club rooms will be open daily from 12:00 until midnight
and a lunch for members will be served at 12:00 to 2 P.M.. Special dinners will be served to parties
in the evening by notifying the steward before 12 o'clock of that day, and one private dining room
has been provided to accommodate a party of not to exceed six.
The privileges of the club will be open to all local and visiting Elks but there will be no
payment for any service with money. Members can purchase coupon books in denomination of $1,
$2, and $5 and these coupons will be used in paying the bills incurred.
The Elks Club has been fortunate in being able to secure the services of Mr. Snover as manager.
He is a man not only of affable and pleasing manners but of wide experience in the catering
business. His first experience was with the Hotel Pontchartrain, the largest hotel of Detroit, and he
was next with the fashionable Hotel Metropole of the same city, from both of which hostelries he
carries the highest recommendations as to his ability. He was then a partner in the Columbia Hotel
in Pontiac, Michigan, and after disposing of his interest there, became the assistant of Charles
Brant, steward of the Detroit Club, and who is now engaged in the same capacity at EI Tovar Hotel
at the Grand Canyon.
With such a man so well qualified to manage its affairs, the Elks Club is assured of success
and the result will be to infuse new life and energy into the lodge of Elks. Mr. Snover plans to
provide an entertainment at least once a month in order to build up the Prescott Lodge of Elks, as he
is one of the most ardent and loyal members of this great fraternal order.
Mr Snover adds, that much of the first furniture was donated by members of the lodge, but that
the club has been a real success since its early and modest beginnings.
Robert Birch in Prescott to Celebrate Elks 50th Anniversary recalled Day of Prescott
Robert Birch, and his brothers, Sidney and William T., came to Prescott in 1902, after leaving
Alaska in 1900. He had married Sara Cope in 1894 and gone to Alaska, where he lived during the
The Birch brothers operated a cafe and saloon in Prescott for many years, and know the town
from its early days. Bob Birch remembered that his bar fixtures had been displayed at the World's
Fair in St. Louis, as the latest and most modem fixtures possible, and that he had been proud to
secure them for his Prescott Rathskellar.
Remembering the early days of the Elks Lodge, Birch told of the laying of the cornerstone of
the Elks Building May 1, 1904, when Phoenix Lodge No. 335, mothered by the Prescott Lodge,
sent representatives to assist in the laying. Elks and prominent business and political people attended
the ceremonies, held in the morning of a clear, beautiful May Day, as Birch recalled. Instead
of the formal attire, usually worn by lodge members during any ceremony, Birch remembered they
were dressed in ordinary business suits and that nearly all the town was there as well as all members
of the Elks. He thought of Morris Goldwater, W.H. Timberhoff, Jack Jaeger and Dick Story as
principles and speakers in the ceremony. To the best of his recollection nothing of much intrinsic
value was placed in the cornerstone; mainly articles concerning the town, the Elks Lodge and the
building. J.R. Minor, building architect and supervisor, oversaw the laying of the stone.
Robert Birch recalls the story of Prescott Lodge Copper Elk at the 50th Celebration.
The Elk, given to the lodge by the United Verde Copper Co., as a gift from United States
Senator W.A. Clark, was formally presented by Thomas Taylor, smelter superintendent. Many
members of the Jerome Elks, according to Mr. Birch, participated in the ceremony and a particularly
rousing time was had by all.
Birch remembers the street parade held during the day of the presentation. When many Elks
rode burros, and many of the burros suffered under artificial Elks heads as well as carrying human
Elks. The evening of the presentation, a great banquet was held in the then unfinished third floor of
the building, a banquet which Birch provided. Asked what they had, he said, "everything from soup
to nuts, and the boys were really happy."
The Elk of solid copper from the UV mines had been raised to the top of the building by block
and tackle and both bolted and cemented in for secureness.
ELKS PARTIES ARE ENJOYABLE
In the infancy of the lodge, it was the custom to give parties, as this excerpt from the club
minutes gives a delightful picture of what must have been a truly delightful party.
"January 6, 1904, Exalted Ruler Elks Lodge No. 330, Prescott Arizona
Your committee, heretofore appointed by you, and directed and empowered to
give Ladies Social Session, beg leave to report that on the night of the 28th of December,
1903, they caused to be given a Ladies' Social Session.
"Your committee further reports that most of the refreshments on that occasion
were furnished by the wives of Elks of this Lodge.
"Your committee further reports that they levied an assessment of $2 against
all unmarried Brothers and against married Brothers residing without the city of
Prescott. The items of expense are as follows:"
Then follows various charges such as an orchestra, flowers, turkeys, hams,
decorations (including bunting which has been carefully preserved for future use),
livery and hack hire, lemonade, oysters, cocktails and service, and cherries.
The report continues:
"Your committee, with no designs to be accused of boasting, congratulated the
Lodge on having given an entertainment which, without question, was the event of
" Having completed their duties, your committee asks that it be discharged.
Respectfully submitted, J.E. Morrison, Chairman, social committee."
The Copper Elk
The Copper Elk was given to Lodge #330 by Charlie Clark, son of Senator Tom Clark, at a
special celebration in 1905. J.E. Forrest was exalted ruler and among the many Elks who attended
the ceremony. Julius Jacoby, a prominent Prescott business man, who also remembers the
occasion. Smelter Supt. Taylor of United Verde Mine made the presentation, and then the oneton
graceful copper elk was hoisted to its proud perch atop the Elks Temple.
The Copper Elk was appraised at $1,200 in 1905. Cast from copper mined in Jerome and cast
in a bronze foundry in the east. It has long been a landmark in Prescott and a true symbol of the
stability of its Brother Elks on the ground.
The Disastrous Thirties & The Depression
The Elks felt the bit of economic security and they simply hunched their shoulders and
worked grimly to keep their building and their lodge financially secure. IT wasn't always easy -
but in the end their labor was well rewarded -for their building was safe and their financial )
The Elks laid the cornerstone for the Prescott Post Office
The 1940's and World War II raised it's ugly head ... Prescott Elks once more answered their
country's call to arms with 90 members in the armed forces.
During the war the Elks club became a busy mecca for visiting Elks in the armed services
from all over the United States.
Fifty Years Of Elkdom Observed As Guest From All Over Arizona Join In Festivity
by Marion Dean
Golden in memories-more colorful and romantic that the most pretentious movie saga-and
nostalgic with reminiscences of days and friends long since gone-all this is the history of
Prescott Lodge Number 330 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, which is now on the
second day of the tremendous Golden Jubilee Celebration=-commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary
of the Lodge.
More than a thousand local and out of town guest and members registered at the club rooms of
the Elks Friday. The day was spent in renewing old friendships and many guests enjoyed trips to
various scenic points around Prescott. Local lodge members furnished cars to the guests.
Last evening saw the initiation of 30 Elks by the local lodge and be special dispensation of
Carl Hammond, district deputy grand exalted ruler of Arizona North. The initiation was held on
the beautifully decorated stage of the Elks Theatre here with present exalted ruler lloyd Gilbert
in Charge. George Allen was responsible for the much admired stage decoration which consisted
of many lovely flowers and plants.
Attorney Ed Locklear give a highly interesting and comprehensive history the Lodges No.
339, which in the oldest in the state, and Governor Sidney P. Osborn and Attorney Lafayette
Lewis gave stimulating talks of Elkdom and particularly the popularity and progressiveness of
Lodge No. 330.
This afternoon hundred of Elks and their families are enjoying the big barbecue being held at
the Gardens under the direction of Gail Gardener, Frank Olea and Nick Pelletier, assisted by
Ladies of the Elks.
Tonight will wind up the two-day celebration with a dance at 9 PM. in the Prescott Junior High
School Auditorium, with Roland Mosher, past exalted ruler, in charge and musics by Gladys
These are the festivities that mark the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Lodge No. 330 in 1946.
The History of Prescott Arizona
The History the Elks Ladies of Prescott Lodge
History of the Elks Opera House Theatre
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