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Elks History

The Beginnings of the BPOE: Our organization had its early beginnings with a group of men predominantly from the New York theatrical community who were loosely organized as the Jolly Corks. Their original intent was for fellowship and to circumvent the New York Liquor Laws. Later fifteen members decided they wanted to reorganize as a benevolent and fraternal civic organization and to take care of their own and to do good work in their communities. This they did on February 16, 1868 with a statement of serious purpose and an impressive set of rituals. They chose the elk, a animal of strength and majesty, as a fitting symbol of their distinctly American, intensely patriotic, family oriented organization. [The choice of a buffalo, rather than an elk lost by only one vote, 8 to 7.]

Slide Show of the Lodge Over the Years    Charles T. Nesbitt

The Early History of BPOE 294 in Fairmont:
The Lodge was founded through the efforts of W. H. and George R. Guy, of Guy Brothers Minstrel fame (their father was a member of New York Lodge number 1) and had 26 charter members. Charles T. Nesbitt was our first Grand Exalted Ruler. The Lodge was originally housed in the Smith-McKinney Building.  In 1897 the Lodge moved to the Skinner Building. In 1905 the Mayers Building was purchased. In 1917 two floors of the Deveny Building were leased. Later, temporary quarters were established in the Sample Building for Club purposes, while meetings were held at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

Ground was broken for the present building (419 Adams Street) on April 20, 1925. The cornerstone was laid on June 18th. As a finishing touch, they mounted a giant elk's head of stone over the entrance.The Lodge moved to this building on December 28th and was dedicated on May 25, 1926.

Below are our members who have also served as state presidents:

A. Brooks Fleming
A. Brooks Fleming
L. T. Eddy, 1935-1936
L T. Eddy
George May, 1954-55
George W. May
James V. Pallota, 1963-64
James V. Pallota
Charles W. Dunnington, 1970-71
Chas. W. Dunnington
H. Glenn Summers
H. Glenn Summers
Richard A. Romino
Richard A. Romino

Since the mid-1990s, women have been welcomed as full members into the lodge. Women have served and continue to serve the lodge in positions of leadership.
Judy Plivolich
Judy Plivelich,
First Exalted Lady Ruler

Cathy Demasi
Cathy Demasi,
Exalted Ruler

Margie Krueger, Exalted Ruler 2015
Cathy Demasi,
Exalted Ruler

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