History of Our Lodge
A brief history of Edmond Elks Lodge #2578
The Edmond Elks Lodge was formed on August 16, 1978 when 104 area residents stepped forward to be initiated into the Order at the Broadway Motor Inn, just south of 33rd street on Broadway Extension. Owners of the Inn, Bob and Mary McDowall were well known in the Edmond area and Bob was an active member until they moved to Florida some years ago. The Charter Officers were Dale Fowlkes, Exalted Ruler, David Jones, Leading Knight, Larry Waters, Loyal Knight, Chet Neese, Lecturing Knight, D.L. McNeal, Secretary, Les Cummings, Treasurer, Kurt Seeman, Esquire, Steve Loux, Tiler, A.C. Adams, Chaplain, Inner Guard, Terry Horton and Trustees were Roger Driskill, Bill Birchmier, Rocky Roberts, Joe Kendrick and Charlie Tuttle.
The Lodge met at the Broadway Motor Inn for a while, then at the top of the downtown Citizens Bank of Edmond and eventually in the basement of Gary Rhoads home in NW Edmond. During these formative years the Lodge was actively looking for property on which to build its facilities. Eventually, the Lodge purchased ten acres of land about a half-mile east of I35 on Waterloo Road. Thanks to many members signing personal promissory notes, funds were raised, property was purchased, and a 5,000 square foot building was constructed as the Lodge home. After the exterior of the metal building was in place, Bob McDowall took over as the construction manager and over the next year the building’s interior was completed by Lodge members to include a 2,500 sq. feet main hall, entry foyer, lounge and kitchen.
Over the past 42 years the Lodge has had 35 different Exalted Rulers with several serving two multiple years, with PER Gerald Hulsey serving 4 terms as ER. Gerald said “I will continue to serve until I get it right.”:-) Major projects the Lodge was involved with early on included a large fundraiser for the EARC including a new car raffle and entertainment provided by Henson Cargill performing on a stage behind the building now home to Chase Bank in Bryant Square. The Lodge was also a sponsor for the Miss Edmond Pageants, had prize winning floats in the annual 4th of July parades in Edmond, sponsored Hoop Shoot contests, delivered food baskets to the needy at Christmas and sponsored a Boy Scout troop among many other community projects.
In 1983-84 under the leadership of Dr. Terry Horton and again in 1993-94 under the leadership of Leroy Cartwright, the Edmond Lodge was recognized nationally as an All-American Lodge by the Grand Lodge for its growth and community activities. During the 93-94 Lodge year, Bob McDowall took over again as construction manager and a significant addition was added to the lodge including a new kitchen, doubling the size of the Lounge and including a large annex next to the Lodge Hall.
For years the Lodge hosted weekly Bingo games which was its financial lifeblood. After legal gambling was passed in the State the Bingo game was disbanded and difficult financial years ensued. However, thanks to the Elks National Foundation, annual grants began to be available for local community programs and the Lodge has been very successful with their applications. Thanks to these grants $67,500 in Veteran, Youth, Senior Citizen and other community projects have been funded in the past nine years. In addition, the Lodge formed the Terry Horton Scholarship Fund in 2005 following his passing and for the next 8 years Les Cummings directed an annual play and continued with annual fundraisers that has funded the Most Valuable Student Scholarships with an endowment exceeding $30,000.
The Elks are truly an American organization with no foreign Lodges. To be eligible for membership in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, you must be a citizen of the United States over the age of 21 who believes in God. You must be sponsored by a member of the Elks Lodge and reside in the jurisdiction of the Lodge you wish to join.