Somerville, NJ 1068

History of Somerville Lodge

Somerville Lodge B.P.O. Elks No. 1068 was instituted on March 7, 1907 with twenty-one charter members. Meetings were held on the third floor of the Case Building on the corner of West Main and Bridge Streets, Somerville. From a humble beginning, the Lodge took part in community activities and in 1911 purchased the Dr. Wallace Naylor property on West Main Street. Lodge meetings were held on the third floor of the Knights of Columbus building across the street. Every summer an affair was held on the grounds known as “Cafe Chantant”. The needy were given food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas and a party was held for children at Christmas - a tradition that continues to this day.

The Roberts property at the point of West End Avenue and Somerset Street was purchased in 1924. This was later known as “Elks Point”. Meetings were still held in the K of C building. In 1938 an auditorium was added to the rear of the club and meetings and social affairs were held there. Our property was sold to the Borough of Somerville in 1956 and is now the Borough Hall. In 1925 we organized the Somerset Handicapped Children’s Center whch was housed in the Somerset Hospital and later in the basement of the Somerville Middle School.

In 1956 we purchased land on Highway 22 in Bridgewater for a new Lodge building which was dedicated on June 18, 1957. Through the generosity of the local Fraternal Order of Eagles No. 2137, we used their clubhouse until our building was completed. In 1958 the picnic grounds on the knoll were completed. In 1961 we purchased 21 lots on adjoining land from Bridgewater Township. During 1962 a swimming pool committee was formed and by June 1963 the pool and bathhouse were built and in operation. In March of 1978 a 4400 square foot addition to the Lodge building was built to accommodate the Somerset Handicapped Children’s Center. This allowed us to move the Center into its own facility for the first time.

In July 1991, Somerville Lodge moved into the complex on Union Avenue in Bridgewater. The new Lodge building encompasses 16,000 square feet and provides the Lodge with ample room to grow. The Handicapped Children’s Center now has its own building. A special playground for handicapped children was dedicated in 1993. In 1995-1996 our officers won the New Jersey State Ritual title and successfully defended it in 1996-1997, 1997-1998, and again in 1998-1999. All four years they represented New Jersey at the National Convention.