History of the Denver Elks

Denver Lodge No. 17 is the first lodge to be instituted between the Mississippi and the Golden Gate. On April 16, 1882, in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall, the lodge was instituted with a charter membership of 22. Officiating on behalf of Grand Lodge were: J. W. Norton, Exalted Ruler, St. Louis Lodge No. 9; J. M. Wallack, Esteemed Leading Knight, New York Lodge No. 1; J. T. Reeves, Esteemed Loyal Knight, New York Lodge No. 1; Patrick Short, St Louis Lodge No. 9; and Edward H. Banker, Tiler, St. Louis Lodge No. 9. The lodge is the oldest continuously operating Elks lodge west of the Mississippi river.

In 1889, a committee from Denver Lodge assisted the Grand Secretary in removing the remains of the founder of our Order, Charles A. S. Vivian, from Leadville, Colorado, to his final resting place in Boston.

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."

From the lodge records of January 14, 1917, 11 a.m. comes the following information: "On this day, date and hour, Denver Lodge No 17, B.P.O. Elks was convened in session of sorrow to attend the funeral of Brother William Frederick Cody (Buffalo Bill), in life a member of Omaha Lodge No. 39. The services were held in the lodge room of Denver Lodge -- over twelve hundred people being seated. . . . Brother John W. Springer delivered a eulogy and Brother Harry Goodheart sang the 'Vacant Chair.'"

Members in service to Grand Lodge include four District Deputies Exalted Grand Rulers, 17 District Deputies Grand Exalted Rulers, two Chairmen, Board of Grand Trustees, a Chief Justice, Grand Forum and numerous Grand Lodge Committeemen and Committee members. Denver Lodge has been pleased to provide seven past state association presidents and a current member is in the Vice Presidential Succession to State President. Numerous members have served as past or present State Secretaries, Treasurers, Committee Chairs and Committee Members.

Denver Lodge has a long and storied involvement with amateur and professional boxing. On October 25, 1917, the lodge hosted a benefit match that included the then World's Lightweight Champion, Benney Leonard. Marking forty-seven years of service to the youth of the Denver community, member Bill Lowery, Chairman of the Elks Golden Gloves Tournament announced that the 1974 State Amateur Boxing Tournament would be held at the "Elks Punchbowl," the lodge nickname.

For 135 years, the Denver Lodge has strived to accomplish Grand Lodge goals and further its lodge programs. We are justly proud of the many services that we have rendered to our community and to our country. Ever keeping in mind the rich heritage of our past, we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm, for we have linked the destiny of our lodge to the destiny of our great order.

 

Random Article About Denver Elks in the Community

Denver and Other Metro Area Elks with ENVSC Donate $6,000+ to Freedom Service Dogs, October 2013
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Group:  Elks Miscellaneous
Elks Youth Activities
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Amazing Elks Fact of the Day

Fact No. 25:   When the wounded from Vietnam needed help, Elks provided the funds for a recreation pavilion at the Navy Hospital in Guam.  As the wounded at Tripler Medical Center were sweltering in the heat, Elks responded by purchasing 24 air conditioning units so our heroes could recuperate in comfort.

 

Almost Amazing Fact of the Day

Fact No. 165:   The Tennis Hall of Fame is located in Newport, Rhode Island.