Historical Stories

Once an Elk, Eternally an Elk

Although a strong departure from the usual "always an Elk" phrase, the reason behind this intensity will become clear soon enough. Scattered across the United States in peaceful corners of the landscape are sacred plots of ground- some small and simple, others quite grandiose- wherein rest the remains of Departed Brothers, still side-by-side in fraternal unity though their final summons to the Celestial Lodge came as far back as a century ago.

Angels & Elks

“Elks Convention Coming!” Electrifying words to any city in the early 1900's, but especially to Los Angeles when it meant that, for one glorious and tumultuous week, upwards of 2,000 Elks and families would pour out of the train depots to wander its streets, fill its hotels and restaurants, and cart home countless souvenir plates, postcards and pillows. Scenic excursions- official and unofficial- would be scheduled and plotted on maps, radiating out from the city in every direction, land or sea.

Horsepower Meets Elks Power

The arrival of spring and summer is heralded each year by flowers and trees bursting into bloom. But in modern-day civilization, it is also accompanied by an almost universal compulsion to "hit the road." The population of the United States embarks on an odyssey toward all compass points that turns our highways into surging rivers of steel, rubber and exhaust fumes in a mechanized Rite of Spring.

Origin of "Hello, Bill!"

WILLIAM GODDARD, of Minneapolis (Minn.) Lodge, No. 44, B. P. O. Elks, is the original "Hello Bill!" of Elkdom, and this cheerful salutation which has found its way around the world, originated in Minneapolis during the Elks' National Re-Union in that city in 1897.

Elks Walk 2,223 Miles to Attend 1912 National Convention

Brookfield, MO, Monday, 7:30 a.m., April 8, 1912. Four athletic young men, members of the local B.P.O.E Lodge (Best People On Earth) and employees of the Burlington Railroad started their 2223 mile WALK to Portland, Oregon to attend the National Convention to be held July 8-12.

Help Save Old Ironsides

Most Americans instantly recognize the nickname of one of our country's most famous fighting ships, the U.S.S. Constitution. And if you're planning on visiting it this summer in Boston, don't get alarmed and cancel your trip because of the headline above. Old Ironsides is in great shape at present, swaying gently and majestically at her moorings. But such was not always the case.

Elks Toasts

A collection of the various Elks toasts and where they came from.

What Starts out in a Mouth And Ends up on Your Tie?

Well, in most cases, it's either soup or some other part of your diet. But within the borders of that strange and mystical country known as YESTERELKDOM, in many cases there was absolutely no answer more acceptable than your Elks Tooth, mounted simply or ornately, given to you as a token of appreciation by a grateful Lodge or bestowed by a proud Elk father on his son at Initiation into the ancestral Elks Lodge.

How the Elks Began

It All Began With the Jolly Corks. Starting as as a group of actors and entertainers bent on having fun AND avoiding a New York Excise tax in 1867 (Sundays were the ‘dry’ day), this convivial group called themselves the Jolly Corks (for a clever trick with corks they performed on the uninitiated to win rounds of drinks). That same year as membership grew, some members saw the vision to become more helpful in the community. Alas, two feuding factions split the group over different philosophies. Fortunately, the latter faction moved forward with their new ideals and in February of 1868, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was chartered–and with a great new spirit and direction, began to help Veterans, Scouting, Scholarships and more–wherever Charity, Justice and Brotherly Love were needed!

Pioneering baseball exec served as GER

Every Grand Exalted Ruler has a list of accomplishments, but only one can claim to be the father of baseball’s World Series. August “Garry” Herrmann, the GER in 1910-11, was president of the Cincinnati Reds and served as chairman of baseball’s National Commission from 1903 to 1920.

The Social Side of the Grand Lodge Convention (1936)

An article from the Elks Magazine describing the 1936 Grand Lodge Convention in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Lodge #99 Newsletter, April, 1929

Newsletter of the Los Angeles Elks - April, 1929. (PDF format)

My Membership Card in the Elks, by Robert Barrett

An inspiring article titled "My Membership Card in the Elks," by Robert Barrett, chairman of the Good of the Order Committee, from the January, 1932 Elks Magazine.

An Authentic History of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (1910)

The first Elks History book by Charles Ellis, published in 1910. (PDF format, 63MB)

Charles Vivian Biography

A Charles Vivian biography, written by his widow.

Does Anyone Listen?

The ideals of the Elks by Brother Tom Williams of Raleigh Elks Lodge.

A Brief History of the Origins of the Order of Elks

The object of this brief History is to set forth the real facts of the Origin of the Order of ELKS.

The History of the Order of Elks

A reprinted story from the Massachusetts State Newspaper in the fall of 2003.

The Elks Uncorked

December 1980 | Volume 32, Issue 1

Traditions and History of BPOE

The youth-oriented, charitable, and community service programs of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks are all-encompassing.