Augusta Elks History

History of the Augusta Elks

Construction of the First Lodge Building

Augusta Elks Officers 1916-17

Exalted Ruler – Walter G. Thomas
Esteemed Leading Knight – Harry S. Dean
Esteemed Loyal Knight – Manning S. Campbell
Esteemed Lecturing Knight – John E. Hanson
Secretary – C. W. Poor
Esquire – E. E. Bradbury
Tiler – C. G. Georgeaklis
Chaplain – Albert M. Drummond
Inner Guard – Clarence S. York
Organist – Stanley K. Hawkins
Trustees – Everett S. Hall, Byron Boyd, E. E. Bradbury

PAST EXALTED RULERS

Everett M. Mower, George W. Merrill, Frederick W. Plaisted, C. W. Poor, Wilfred P. Perry, Charles B. Day, Wilbur T. Emerson, George H. Bangs Treasurer – George W. Merrill

BUILDING COMMITTEE

George W. Merrill, Chairman
Everett M. Mower
John E. Hanson
Elmer E. Bradbury
L. L. Wellman

ARCHITECT

William G. Bunker, Augusta, Maine

CONTRACTORS

Tracy & Metcalf, Augusta, Maine

HISTORY

The Augusta Elks Lodge was instituted May 3, 1905. The ceremony of institution and the degree work was conferred by Waterville Lodge No. 905, at City Hall Augusta. The Lodge procured quarters in what was then Woodsmen’s Hall, over H. G. Barker’s store, and remained there for meetings only for a few months. The prospect of having permanent quarters decided the Lodge, then of about fifty members, to use the office of Brother George W. Merrill for meetings until the rooms on Water street were fitted up.

In April, 1915, the present building committee was appointed and the New Home on Winthrop Street is the result. The membership has grown from fifty at the date of institution to two hundred and eighty at the date of opening.

STORY OF THE NEW LODGE BUILDING

The concept of a new Lodge Home for Augusta Elks has probably existed in various forms almost since the old building on Winthrop Street was completed in 1917. As the membership continued to grow an addition to the old building which nearly doubled it’s size was completed in 1972 and proved to be too small as soon as it was completed.

In 1979 E.R. Alvin Smiley appointed a “Long Range Planning Committee” consisting of the Lodge Trustees, Lodge Officers and members Robert Turcotte, Pat Roderigue and Al Frost to investigate and advise recommendations for the Lodge’s future. In 1980 under the leadership of E.R. Dick Kidder, the Long Range Committee presented to the Lodge a recommendation that the property of some 37 acres on Civic Center Drive be purchased as a site for a future Lodge.

The new few years were spent in paying for the property along with Camp K-V which was purchased to assist the YMCA with their youth programs. Over the interim several plans were discussed regarding a new Lodge. Real action started when, then Leading Knight, Paul Boutin proposed establishing a ”New Lodge Building Fund” and dedicated half of his Leading Knight’s expense fund to start it. AI Frost and Harold Gabriel, each seconded the motion and each donated $100, to start members’ donations. P.RR. Don McCarten motioned the establishment of monthly “$500.” Drawing club with proceeds to go to the building fund.

In 1985 E.R.Paul Boutin proposed the establishment of a “building Committee” and in 1986 E.R. Leo Bunnell converted the Long Range Committee into a Building Committee, under the chairmanship of P.E.R. Steve Sargent. At this time it was decided to sell Camp K-V and dedicate the proceeds to the building fund. This Committee did yeomanship work in research and projections as well as design of a new Lodge. The Lodge body, however was not impressed with design of the proposed building and voted it down. E.R. Tom Callahan appointed a new committee in 1987

This new committee consisting of Bob Larsen, Rollo Ferland, Alan Johnston, Paul Cyr and Bruce Thompson under the chairmanship of Guido Santarelli created a unique design which was accepted by the Lodge body in April of 1988. In 1988 E.R. AI Frost continued the same committee with the addition of P .E.R. Tom Callahan.

Future business projections were updated by Brother Mo Stickney, Chairman Guido and E.R. Al. Bids were solicited with builder Bruce Thompson winning the bid. Motions were approved to accept Thompson’s bid and to sell the present lodge. Upon Lodge approval, the application was prepared for approval by the Grand Lodge and was hand carried to the Grand Trustees at the National Convention. Approval was received in August and construction was started in September

The leadership of Chairman Guido, coupled with his perseverance in the face of many unforeseen obstacles was truly remarkable. The Lodge Trustees under the chairmanship of Veme Lee must be commended on their diligence in managing the financial aspects. as they arose The Lodge House Committee under Chairman Mike Toman prepared for the future management of the new Lodge and their dedication paid off in full when the new Lodge started off with a wedding reception on it’s opening day April 29, 1989.

From “dream” to “idea” to “action” to “completion”, the new Augusta Lodge is really the result of Augusta Elks “Brotherhood in Action”.

WHO ARE THE ELKS

Lewiston, Maine, March 27, 1905 –

To: William J. O’Brien, G.E.R. – “Dear sire and Brother, I am enclosing herewith charter list of a Lodge of Elks as proposed in Augusta, the capitol city of Maine. I am inclined to believe that few communities in the United States have passed in a list of names so admirably representative of the best in the community in the way of manhood, brains, business standing and wealth. In fact, starting with Mayor Hitchborn, the list comprises the cream of the business and professional activity of Augusta. You will note that Congressman Burleigh, – an ex-Governor of Maine is among the applicants, as well as leading state officials. I am proud to place such a list in you hands.”

…Thus began the letter from District Deputy Holman Day starting the process for the Augusta Lodge of Elks, leading to the institution of Lodge #964 on May 3, 1905. With Waterville Lodge as sponsor, 60 members of Augusta were duly initiated with Everett M. Mower elected as Exalted Ruler.

AI. Frost May 3, 1905

The original Minute Book of Augusta Lodge records that, “A Lodge of Emergency was convened at Augusta City Hall at 2: 15 for the purpose of instituting a Lodge of Elks in Augusta.” After the appointment of appropriate Grand Lodge Officers and duly initiating the original Charter members. The meeting was recessed until 8:15 in the evening, at which time the Officers of the Lodge were elected and installed. History records that the Lodge held weekly meetings in the “New Woodsmans Hall” until July, at which time it was voted to lease “suitable space” on the 3rd floor of the Parrott-Titcomb building at 169Y2 Water Street for a period of 5 years at an annual rental of $200. The “Home Committee” was charged with the procurement of “Proper furniture and fixtures” for the new home in September and the Lodge met for the first time in the “Home” in October. The “House Committee was enabled to purchase and provide “anything they deem necessary for the convenience of the members, to include a telephone.” The Secretary was awarded an annual salary of $40.00.

A Special meeting was held at 11 :00 New Years Day to Toast: “To our absent brothers on earth and in the spirit, world greetings and remembrances: To our Grand Exalted Ruler, a Happy New Year: fraught with health and joy of our grand order. May your administration realize all your wishes, is the earnest desire of 200,000 Elks at this identical minute.”

AI Frost

AUGUSTA’S NEW HOME

The new Augusta Elks Lodge Home is located on Civic Center Drive (Belgrade Road) ~ 1/4 mile north of I-95 Exit 31 Situated at the top of a gentle rise 400 feet from the roadway, it commands a beautiful view of the distant mountains. On a clear day, Mt. Washington can be seen.; White tailed deer still occasionally frolic in the still unpaved 20 or so acres to the north and east of our 350 space, paved parking lot.

It can be seen from the photos that the outside architecture of the building is truly striking with it’s flying gables overlooking the 400 foot frontage. The main Lodge measures 70 feet by 110 feet and rests on a 60′ by 110′ undeveloped basement for future use. An ell building extends north from the Lodge building, providing a 50′ by 90′ Banquet Hall capable of seating 300 to 350 people and its center opens into the main Lodge Club area. The club area will seat 150 to 200 people giving us potential space for up to 500 people for large “Elks Only” functions.

The first floor of the main Lodge consists of the Club area, Managers’ Office, Trustees’ Office, Billiard Room, Rest Rooms, and a modem, complete equipped kitchen capable of serving three separate functions at one time; A cathedral ceiling extends over the Club are. A second story occupies the second half of the building and consists of a balcony area overlooking the Club floor. An ante-room and the Lodge Room are entered from the balcony area. The Lodge room is finished in medium clue and light blue and utilizes the original furniture from the Winthrop Street Lodge. The Secretary’s Office and Computer Room and additional rest rooms complete the second floor arrangement.

There are about 20 acres to the north and east of the Lodge and parking lot for future development as our membership and our finances grow. The structural steel construction of the building allows for very easy expansion if needed. The present Banquet Hall could be doubled -in size with very little site preparation. As our finances permit in the future, there are possibilities for Horseshoe Pits an RV Court for visiting and vacationing Elks, possibly our own ballfield, as well as a shuffleboard court.

The future activities of the Lodge will depend upon the participation and support of our members. Nothing happens until someone does something. To para-phrase a song, “The future IS ours to see”, but only the members’ work will make it happen.