The original Elks Lodge #71 sat on 1817 Pocahontas Drive in 1914.

Is anyone else curious what the Elks Lodge is? They have weekly events, but what are they? How long have they been here? Here are some answers for those curious.

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was a social club and fraternal order founded in New York in 1868. Founded under the name “Jolly Corks” by 15 actors, entertainers and others associated with the theater. In ensuing years, membership expanded to other professions.

It was founded “To promote and practice the four cardinal virtues of Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity; to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its members; to quicken the spirit of American Patriotism and cultivate good fellowship,” according to their website.

Ten of the fifteen originators of the BPO Elks, 1868. (Photo courtesy of the Elks History Project)

What does this have to do with Dallas? Well, the Elks Lodge #71 was chartered on January 28, 1888, making it one of the first Elks Lodge in Texas and one of the oldest clubs in Dallas, reports Flashback Dallas.

Dallas Morning News Article from 1888. (Photo courtesy of Flashback Dallas.)

On Jan. 29, 1888 the Dallas Morning News wrote an article on the first meeting of the Dallas Elks Lodge No. 71, entitled “Order of Elks in Dallas; A Lodge Instituted Here Yesterday.” You can find the full article here.

Their first official building sat at 1817 Pocahontas, the northwest corner of Pocahontas Street and Park Avenue in the Cedars area, just south of downtown which is Old City Park- Dallas Heritage Village now.

Designed by architect H. A. Overbeck, the lodge was built in 1914; the land and the construction of the lodge cost $45,000. Surprisingly, this lodge served the Elks for only six years — they returned downtown, where they took over and renovated the old YWCA building on Commerce Street, reports Flashback Dallas.

Currently, the Elks Lodge #71 resides on Lullwater Drive. Last time we reported on them in 2017, they had 362 members and did philanthropy work involving hurricane relief and the Polar Bear Dip.

How to join: Find a sponsor member along with two member references, and fill out an application online.
Biggest non-cash need: New members and attendees at the Elks pool and other events.
More info: dallaselks.org