During the early months of 1954, several Elks living in the city of Torrance, met to discuss the possibility of forming a lodge of Elks within the city.
Joe Yates, Harry Carlson, and Mike Fenwick of Redondo Beach Lodge #1378 and a few friends started meeting on a weekly basis at Fenwick's shoe store located at 1420 Marcelina Ave. As other Elks and friends became interested in a Torrance Elks Lodge, the Grand Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks granted the above men permission to form an official organizing committee with Joe Yates as chairman and George Lehr as secretary. A larger group required a larger meeting place and the congregation of the Nativity Catholic Church graciously offered the needed facility at the corner of Arlington and Engracia.
With a new Lodge on the horizon, the Grand Lodge of Elks assigned three leaders of the district: PDD W.B. "Doc" Heller or Redondo Beach Lodge #1378, PDD Roy Gordon of San Pedro Lodge #966, and DDGER Floyd Tumbleson of Huntington Park Lodge #1415 to lead, guide, and assist the committee during the next few months. The Grand Lodge also specified that as a requirement for dispensation, a minimum of 300 members must be obtained.
Interest in the "new" lodge grew rapidly. As soon as we began to realize that we were going to meet the requirements to have an Elks Lodge in Torrance, we started looking for a suitable meeting place where we could complete our organizational program and later hold our Lodge meetings. We soon found out that there was not a suitable building available but we were able to lease Alan Richard's Hall at 1953 1/2 Carson Street. With some alteration and modernization of this 2nd floor area (above a bowling alley) this became the local for the completion of our organizational work and Lodge quarters for the next six years.
We met all the requirements. On February 2, 1955, Grand Exalted Ruler William J. Jernick granted the dispensation for Torrance Elks Lodge #1948.
The Institution program had previously been set for Saturday, February 19, 1955 at the Torrance Civic Auditorium located at the Northeast corner of Cravens and El Prado Avenue. A colorful brochure had been prepared showing the Dispensation and the names of all the Charter Members of the Lodge, as well as the dignitaries participating in the Lodge Institution, Initiation, and Installation of Officers. All was ready and at the last the big day finally arrived.
Starting Promptly at 3:00pm the Institution ceremony was ably handled by DDGER Floyd Tumbleson of Huntington Park Lodge #1415 assisted by PDDGERS of the South Central Coast District. This was followed by the acceptance of 81 Torrance Charter members on Cards of Demission from other Lodges. Our Sponsoring Lodge, Redondo Beach #1378, then initiated the 257 new Charter Members of the Lodge Total members were 338.
The first order of business of the new Lodge was the nomination and election of Officers of Torrance Lodge #1948 for the remainder of the Lodge Year.
The Charter Officers nominated, elected, and appointed were:
Exalted Ruler Joseph E. Yates*
Esteem Leading Knight F.W. "Pete" Fahnestock*
Esteem Loyal Knight Ralph T. Jakubowski
Esteem Lecturing Knight Roger W. Holmes*
Secretary C.W. "Tip" Lackey*
Treasurer Marvin R. Pike*
Trustee 5 year Clifford P. Olson*
Trustee 4 year Frank R. Jakubowski*
Trustee 3 year Harry Carlson*
Trustee 2 year Michael Fenwick*
Trustee 1 year Jacob Turpel*
Tiler S.J. "Sid" Low*
Esquire Jack M. Bassett
Asst. Esquire A.H. "Ace" Littleton*
Inner Guard C.D. "Chuck" Marquand
Asst. Inner Guard R.W. "Bob" Strand*
Organist James E. Whitmer
The first session of the Lodge then recessed for dinner at their Lodge Hall
Promptly at 8:00pm, at the Civic Auditorium, the Lodge reconvened for further business. Past Grand Exalted Ruler L.A. "Fay" Lewis of Anaheim Lodge #1345, assisted by the Exalted Ruler of the South Central Coast District, conducted the Installation of Officers. Torrance Lodge #1948 was now ready to assume its place in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
The first weekly meeting, after institution, was held on Wednesday, February 23, 1955. In the remaining days of this month, the Officers held ritual practice; various committees met and organized, and set their programs fro the coming Lodge year.
Since the Elks Lodge year runs from April 1 to March 31, the month of March meant the nomination of Officer on the 7th and 14th of the month, with the election to be held on the 21st. The charter officers having been elected for only 1 1/2 months were all re-elected and appointed for the first full year. The end of March ended on a high note with a visit on March 28th of California State President Jim Nielson, Vice President Carl Owire, and State Tiler Larry Stevens in attendance.
This new Lodge could not have been started without the help, support, and assistance of our ladies, and for this we are truly grateful. They have also organized the "Ladies of the Elks", and while not recognized as an auxiliary, their purpose is to be philanthropic and social and to be of assistance to the Elks of Torrance Lodge #1948.