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A Brief History of the Elks

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

Quoted from the Elks, USA Brick, NJ 2151

"A Short History of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elk (BPOE) On November 15, 1867 a small group of actors and entertainers, lead by an English comedy singer named Charles Algernon Sidney Vivian, organized a drinking club in New York City. They called their newly formed organization the "Jolly Corks". Vivian adopted the name "Jolly Corks" from a bar-game he played while in England. The sole purpose of the "Jolly Corks" organization was to circumvent a New York law that closed saloons on Sundays. Vivian's group, with their initial intentions of promoting fellowship among entertainers, quickly saw the benefits they could bring not only to themselves but to others less fortunate. Charles Vivian, noted for his wit and personality, served as the moving force when the Jolly Corks organized. As the Jolly Corks membership shifted to more serious minded individuals, George McDonald, joined the organization. Mr. McDonald and others felt there was a need for a benevolent society for the theatrical world. This catapulted the mission of the Jolly Corks into a fraternal, charitable, and service oriented organization. In 1868, through the efforts these benevolent individuals "The Jolly Corks" was renamed The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of The United States Of America (BPOE), or simply "Elks". Such men as Charles Vivian and George McDonald gave the Elks its real organization and serious purpose, and also preventing it from fragmenting or going out of business. The name 'Elk' was selected because the Elkhas a number of attributes that are deemed typical of those to be cultivated by members of the fraternity. The Elk is distinctively an American animal. It habitually lives in herds. The Elk is the largest of our native quadrupeds, it is yet fleet of foot and graceful in movement. It is quick and keen of perception; and while it is usually gentle and even timorous, it is strong and valiant in defense of its own."

"The early years of Denver Lodge found the group at various leased sites in and around downtown Denver until 1912 when new permanent quarters were opened at the corner of 14th and California streets. Beautiful and unique stained glass panels were installed in this Lodge building. This old building was sold and most of the stained glass was transferred to the present quarters at 2475 West 26th Avenue in 1974.

"Denver Lodge No. 17 has served as the host lodge for four Grand Lodge Sessions: 1906, the "Golden Jubilee" Session of 1914, 1937, and 1986. As noted in the Official Grand Lodge Program for the 1914 Grand Lodge Convention, Denver Lodge at that time had assisted in the establishment of 29 Colorado lodges and most of the lodges located in Wyoming. As a result of this and later work, the lodge has earned the nickname that continues to this day: "The Mother Lodge of the Rockies.""

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