Last Update September 5, 2009 John W. Morris The Lodge First Exalted Ruler and Charter Member Dye Building on left side The Dye Building Today
Dispensation to form B.P.O. Elk's # 833 was granted on February 13, 1903 with the charter for the Lodge issued during Grand Lodge in July of 1903. B.P.O. Elk's 833 started with 52 charter members. The Lodge was instituted in the Knights of Pythias Hall, located in the Dye Building which today houses Taggart's Restaurant and the Chamber of Commerce. John W. Morris was the first Exalted Ruler of the new Lodge
The first Lodge home was the former W. H. Dye Residence, which was rented for $20 per month. It was located on the southeast corner of Market and Franklin where Award One and the Waco Museum are located today. On April 1, 1905 they moved into the second home on the third floor of the Brown Block Building, which is now the site of Prouty Plaza where numerous civic activities takes place each year. Was the W. H. Dye Residence Brown Block Building
In 1921 B.P.O. Elk's #833 Lodge moved into the third and present home located on the northeast corner of Franklin and Cherry Street. The property was donated to the Elk's by Elk Brother C. C. Hayner with the stipulation that if it ever ceased to be used as the Elk's Home, it would revert to the heirs of his estate. On April 14, 1967 the deed was quieted in Common Pleas Court of Miami County..... the stipulation no longer exists.Present ELKS Home
In the spring of 1931 construction began on the addition facing Cherry Street that includes the ballroom and the Lodge Room above. At the rear of the building stood an old carriage house, it was also incorporated into the construction and has been the kitchen since 1932. The Cherry Street addition was approximately $40,000 which at that time seemed like a lot of money until compared to the $45,000 purchase price for the original home, carriage house and wrought iron fence. Ballroom with Lodge Room above
In the Spring of 1954, Exalted Ruler Marion D. Moler and other members started with the idea of a building program for a clubroom. At the Lodge meeting on March 24, 1955 the plans for the new clubroom were submitted. After dropping the installation of the elevator in the existing shaft for a savings of $8,000, the plans were approved by a 2/3 majority vote of the lodge on June 23, 1955.
In September 1955 Exalted Ruler Edwin A. Wight appointed Louis E Meyer as chairman of the building committee. That fall Claude Clark Builders were awarded the contract to build the clubroom at a cost of $48,660.
Exalted Ruler Edward W. Hall appointed Gerald Scott as chairman of the dedication committee, and the dedication was held June 28 -30, 1956. Starting Construction of the Clubroom in 1955Clubroom completed Dedication of Clubroom June 28 1956
At the lodge meeting on March 21, 1974 a vote was taken to purchase the 89 acre Orbison Farm for $85,000. The 95 members present voted unanimously for the purchase. The Lodge closed on the farm at the Law Office of John Fulker on June 18, 1974.
On September 19, 1974, Exalted Ruler Larry Baugher, appointed the first Land Development Committee naming Richard Gibbs as Chairman and Karl Berkshire and Lee Mitchell as Co-Chairmen with John Pour, Frank Leatherman, Harold "Shorty" Overholser, John Lutz, Robert Tinnerman, Milo Evans and Bill O'Keefe to the committee.Driveway to the Recreation Grounds
In the spring of 1975 a small picnic shelter was built and in August a large picnic shelter was completed. The Orbinson Recreation Center was up and running and the first annual Pig Roast was held on August 19, 1975. The next improvement was to add a Restroom/Storage building with flush toilets and on February 12, 1976 the Lodge approved $3000.00 to start the building. On October 7, 1976 Chairman Richard Gibbs reported the facility was complete and ready to use.Small Shelter large Shelter Restrooms with flush toilets and Storage
In early 1976 the Lodge had an opportunity to buy another parcel of land next to the Orbison Farm. This parcel was known as the Weatherhead Farm. The cost was $125,000 for the 80 acres with $10,000 down payment. The Lodge closed on the Weatherhead Farm on April 15, 1976.
In February, 1977 the name of the Orbison Recreation Center was changed to Orbison-Rusk Recreation Center to accommodate Robert Weatherhead's wishes to have his grandparents name of Rusk included because they had settled their farm shortly after the Orbisons.Orbison - Rusk Recteation Center
In 1977 Ned Elleman built a barbeque pit and shelter. Also that year, DP&L erected a 400 amp transformer at the farm, all electric cables were placed underground. Electric and water service was then available to the majority of the buildings and shelters.
A children's playround was added in 1979 by John Pour and Jake Heffner. The playground was completed with a swing set, spring animals, slide, and a merry-go-round.Children Play Ground
In November, 1979 Bob Bewley purchased a bar sink at an auction and donated it for use at the farm. In early December Scott Speelman stated that Wolohan Lumber had built 30 trusses to the wrong dimension and would sell them to the ELKS for $31.50 each and this purchase led to the building of the kitchen facility. In February, 1980 the kitchen facility was built by a work party headed up by John Pour. There were a number of donations of kitchen appliances by our members. The kitchen was completed April, 1981 with a total cost of $12,373.86.
Over the next several years, a number of improvements to the farm were completed. Kitchen Facility
The original farmhouse was used for many years as a meeting place and shelter for the Lodge functions and on May 6, 1985 at a farm meeting it was voted to tear down the building. The demolition of the building took place 1986 and the ground was leveled. The orignal Orbison Farm House
In the spring of 1994 The Grand Lodge proposed a change in the by-laws to allow women to become members in the B.P.O.E. and the change was ratified in September 1995. At the June 19, 1997 Lodge Meeting, Exalted Ruler David H. Summers administered the Binding Obligation and the initiation ceremony to Doris A. Peddemors (sponsored by Gomer L. Huston) and she became our first woman member.
On February 13, 2003 our Lodge celebrated its 100-year anniversary and the Exalted Ruler was Ned E. Elleman.
During the time frame of May 1, 2004 and July 15, 2006 our club Treasurer: Ralph Naegele took on the task of converting the clubs records from the hand written records to the computer. In making the change several programs was used including Yuma Lodge Secretary, Quicken-Books and Chart of Accounts. On July 15, 2006 the conversion to the computer was completed. All though the account numbers did not agree with the Grand Lodge the lodge, Secretary Thomas Hawkins purchased new software (CLMS) Chicago Lodge Management System and the conversion was completed in 2008. We are now operating in the 21st century.
Sara M. Dunavent was our first women Exalted Ruler. She was initiated into our lodge on October 3, 2002 by Exalted Ruler Ned R. Elleman and immediately started through the chairs and in March 2007 she was elected Exalted Ruler for the lodge year 2007/2008.
Sara M. Dunavent
The history of our Lodge will continue and as the events occur it will be added to the Lodge History.