Princeton, IN 634

A Brief History of Princeton Lodge #634

The Princeton Elks Lodge was instituted on Dec 13, 1900. According to the Princeton Daily Clairion, "There will be Elks from Evansville, Mt Vernon, Vincennes, New Albany, Terre Haute, Podunk, Squeedunk, Hunkerdunk and most every other place this side of the other place."
The first stated meeting of the Princeton Elks was held in the Red Men Lodge Hall on Dec. 18, 1900. Old minutes indicate the Elks met in rented halls until 1906 when the present structure was purchased. The "Harrington Property" as it was called, was purchased for the stately sum of $3,000.00. The home was built by the Joseph Devin family sometime prior to 1853. The Devins were known for their hospitality to dignitaries and celebrities visiting Princeton. The purchase was reported to the Lodge on May 9, 1906 with the Grand Opening slated for April 31 - May 1 of 1907.
The formal dedication was held on May 1, 1907 with officers from Vincennes Lodge #291 initiating 17 new Brothers into the Order.
During the flu epidemic of 1918, the members turned the Elks Home over to the Red Cross for hospital purposes exclusively for influenza patients. This lasted from late October till late December of that year.
The Home was open 24 hours a day after the Tri State Tornado which destroyed the southern part of Princeton. Food, drink and cots were available to weary relief workers and those left homeless by the twisters.
Following WW II, a dining room was added onto the structure. The new room seated 120 people and was formally dedicated on August 12, 1948.
The membership continually upgraded the facility, remodeling, redecorating and modernizing. The Lady Elks Auxillary, which came to be by Lodge direction in 1909, played a major role in both decorating and fund raising for remodeling on the structure. The exterior went through various facelifts until the 1990's when a renovation was undertaken to give this grand old building more of the look it had in its' early days. The work is ongoing but the results have been worth it.
The Princeton Elks Lodge has served Princeton and Gibson County for over 100 years. The projects have been as diverse as the ideas of the membership and their hard work and dedication continues today