AZ NORTH
District No. 0460

Lodge History

WINSLOW LODGE 536
BENEVOLENT AND PROTECTIVE ORDER OF ELKS
WINSLOW, ARIZONA


Grand Exalted Ruler B. M. Allen granted dispensation to form a new Elks lodge to be known as Winslow Lodge No. 536 on December18, 1899. The Lodge was instituted on March 15, 1900, and was granted its charter on July 12, 1900, with 36 charter members and 12 charter officers. T. J. Hesser led the group during their formation years of 1899-1900, followed by W. H. Burbage as charter Exalted Ruler. Winslow was the eighth lodge in Arizona.

Winslow had less than eighteen hundred inhabitants at the time the charter was granted and drew members from surrounding areas. The first Elks home was located in rented quarters in a building which came to be known as the Elks Hotel, as rooms were available for rent. The building was located on First Street, west of Kinsley Avenue. This was a principal corner in town, as First Street fronted the Santa Fe Railroad property and tracks.

When the business district of the community began to shift from First Street, the Elks also planned to move and in 1912/1913 built the large brick structure located on the northeast corner of Kinsley Avenue and Second Street. The cornerstone at the stairwell to the second floor bears the inscription "Winslow Elks Home Association". The cornerstone was laid on Sunday, June 2, 1912. Construction continued through the year, and the Elks held their dedication and first meeting on March 8, 1913.

While the building was home to the Elks, the second floor had been divided into two lodge rooms and three offices. One lodge room was for the exclusive use of the Elks and the second had been sublet to the Ladies of the Maccabees, who rented to other lodges in the city. The Odd Fellows and the Loyal Order of Moose were among those who met in the building. The first floor was divided into five store spaces. The Elks abandoned this building in 1918, and again moved to rented quarters in the upstairs portion of what was then known as the "Coney Island Café" on Second Street.

The 1912 and 1913 years were a busy time for the Winslow Elks. In addition to the construction of the new Elks Home, the local lodge was involved in the planning and shipping of 86 elk from Gardiner, Montana to Winslow. Dr. R. M. Looney of Prescott Arizona Lodge 330 and other Arizona Elks' Lodges were also involved. The arrangements were worked out in the temporary home of the Elks located upstairs above the Palace of Sweets on Second Street.

The elk arrived in Winslow on February 28, 1913 by train, kept in the railroad stockyards for twelve days, and were then transported by wagon to Cabin Draw in the Sitgreaves National Forest south of Winslow. The elk were kept in a corral and fed for about thirty days and then released.

Olas J. Murie, in his book, The Elk of North America, printed in 1951, stated that a bull elk harvested south of Winslow in 1937 bore a Biological Survey ear tag from the 1913 elk transplant. A story of the elk transplant is posted on this web site.

The Lodge continued to grow in membership, and in 1924, had a membership of 730. This growth continued, even though the Lodge lost one hundred members in 1920 due to the formation of a new lodge in Gallup, New Mexico.

As the Winslow Lodge grew, the idea of a new lodge building gained popularity and careful plans were made towards attaining this goal. At the first session of the 1923-24 lodge year, it was suggested that committees be appointed to purchase lots, secure designs, and obtain financing. The original lot at 315 West Third Street was purchased in June, 1923, and construction began almost immediately. Olds Brothers of Winslow constructed the building to specifications developed by Trost and Trost, an architectural firm represented in Arizona by George M. Williamson. The dedication of the new Elks Home was held on May 22, 1924, and remains the home of the Winslow Elks today.

As the membership grew, and lodge and civic activities expanded, the need for an auditorium was realized, and a new, spacious auditorium was dedicated during the Golden Jubilee celebration held June 29 and 30, and July 1, 1950. Eighty-five candidates were initiated into Elkdom in this record class, several of whom still reside in Winslow.

Winslow Lodge was the sponsoring Lodge for the institution of Show Low Elks Lodge on September 22, 1958. Winslow lost additional members with the formation of Holbrook Elks Lodge 2450.

Winslow Lodge has hosted State conventions, District Deputy clinics, ritual contests and clinics, and has participated in other State and Grand Lodge activities. The Lodge in cooperation with other organizations and schools have supported or sponsored scouting programs, youth baseball leagues, hoop shoot and soccer contests, school activities, high school sports banquets, and honors banquets for Winslow's outstanding young students and leaders. Winslow provides the use of the auditorium for Blood drives and other events. Each Christmas, with the assistance of elementary and high school students and other organizations and individuals, the Lodge collects food stuffs and toys and distributes food baskets to needy families in the community. This program has been in existence for over 50 years, and recently has provided assistance to 250 families yearly.

With the dedication of many Elk members, the Lodge has participated in the Grand Lodge Leather Program, and this past year collected 1338 animal hides from hunters and butchers to be tanned and distributed to Veterans Hospitals.

The lodge has been assisted over the years by ladies organizations such as the Emblem Club and the Organization of Elks Ladies. These groups have assisted the Elks in many areas, and have donated time and money in remodeling and refurbishing the lodge.

On June 28, 1997, the Winslow Lodge initiated sixteen ladies into the Lodge. The ladies have been a welcome addition to the Lodge, and have continued to be active in lodge operations and activities. Two ladies have served as Exalted Ruler of the Lodge, and another will hold the office in lodge year 2003-2004.

Membership as of March 31, 2002 was 386. Although lodge membership has declined in recent years, the members continue to promote the ideals of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and will never forget those who have gone before and have passed on to us the legacy of our Lodge and our history.

(Information contained in the above was compiled from several sources)A


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