Sep 8 2015

With just about six weeks to go, the excitement, anticipation and energy swirling around our newest project continues to build. Anderson School is the property on everyone's mind, with its grand opening scheduled for Thursday, October 15.

So, why not take a little break from Bothell and turn our eyes to the next project on the slate: the Tacoma Elks Club.


Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Elks Lodge was officially purchased by McMenamins with the addition of the adjacent annex building in July 2012. The building was constructed in 1915-16 when fraternal organizations such as the Elks were an important part of the community and had the money to fund beautiful properties such as this one. It was designed by É. Frère Champney, a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts, in the second Renaissance Revival style.

Now, enjoy a look at some of the images and items that have been unearthed by Artifacts Consulting, Inc. and the Tacoma Historical Society.


This is, obviously, an American flag - but note it has just 46 stars. On July 4, 1908, the U.S. flag grew to 46 stars with the addition of Oklahoma (on 11/16/1907). Both Theodore Roosevelt and William H. Taft served as president under the 46-star flag, which was only official for four years ‘til July 4, 1912, after New Mexico and Arizona had been added to the Union (1/6/1912 and 2/14/1912, respectively).


On this invitation to the big Turkey Trot dance, Elks are encouraged to "Bring the Ladies This Time" - it makes you wonder if, at a big dance prior to this one, ladies were not welcome? That there had been dances strictly for dudes only?

Seems like maybe the ladies were not invited to this event, either.

A-ha! Here are the ladies - the Spanish Steps adjacent to the lodge is the perfect spot for a high school majorette photo op. The one in front is clearly enjoying her moment. The other two are thinking murderous thoughts; easy with those batons, girls.

I have no idea what is happening here. Massage class? Two-person yoga? But check out that gorgeous architecture.

While we don't know exactly what is in the envelope - maybe a membership card or a special pin? - it is the sentiment that makes it significant: "It was given to me the day I became a Brother Elk. In all those years from 1925 no one could take it from me." Young serviceman H.W. LaFollette kept this talisman, whatever it may be, with him throughout his time as a gunnery sergeant in WWI - a good indication of how much the Elks brotherhood meant to him.

So despite having a little fun with some of these more light-hearted images, we will also remember and celebrate the importance and heritage of the Elks, once we break ground and begin renovation on the building in the coming year(s).

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