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Elks celebrates 100th year of Elk’s Lodge Building
Celebrating the Beartooth Elks Lodge’s building 100 years in Red Lodge, Pam Todd spoke at the Historical Society and Museum about how the Elks were created.
Todd began her speech saying, “today the Elks is a charitable, fraternity organization non profit. We support many different charities, some local lodges, and some pick projects for their own charitable purposes. The National Foundations, I think, encourages charitable donations for scholarships for youth and for supporting veterans and that is certainly true about our lodge.”
The Beartooth Elks Lodge donates over at least $10,000 per year to high school students in Carbon and Stillwater counties.
The Elks also heavily support our veterans. The Elks started out being the ‘Jolly Corks,’ a social club in 1868 by Charles Vivian (his stage name) who was an entertainer in London.
“Everyone loved Charlie,” said Todd.
The reason for being called the ‘Jolly Corks’ started when Vivian came to New York they started a game that he had learned in London at the Royal and Antediluvian Order of the Buffaloes where he was a member. One night he played the trick on one of their friends that said they should play dice to see who would pay for beer that night.
Soon their club had too many members and had to find a new place.
”At the first meeting they decided that because of having collected so much money for beer that they should make food baskets with that money for those a family in need at the next meeting. Just before the meeting ended they soon heard that their friend Big John Robinson was very sick, so they took a vote and decided that the money should go to him instead. Even in the beginning they had charitable motives and took care of their own,” said Todd.
“Chris Christ had invited the Jolly Cork club to his birthday party. The club decided to march from the theater to Christ’s house. As they arrived they saw that the road was blocked, someone came over and told them that Christ had been killed. At that moment the church rang eleven which became the Elks 11 O’Clock Toast ‘to our absent brother’; this is still part of the Elks."
On Feb. 16, 1868 after the funeral they started the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks. New York Elks Lodge was the first and soon after Beartooth Elks Lodge became number 534 of the Elks Lodge.