Who we are
Who we are
Elks are American Citizens who guide our course in life by the Cardinal Principles of Our Order: Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love, and Fidelity.
By living these values and by having such a great membership our lodge has done many great things for our fellow citizens.
From our annual Soccer Shoot and Hoop ShootTM, to our Veterans program, we are dedicated to serving our community.
History of our Lodge
Norristown Lodge was chartered in 1901. The original lodge was located in Norristown at the intersection of Main and Swede Streets. The lodge later moved to a new building in Norristown at the intersection of Main Street and Haws Avenue.
Although that building has been somewhat modified, the main portion of the building can still be seen on Haws Avenue.
From there, the lodge sold the Hawes Avenue building and moved to Airy Street in the late-1970s. In the mid-1990s, the lodge moved to its current home in Bridgeport on Ford Street.
History of the B.P.O.E.
The Elks had modest beginnings in 1868 as a social club (then called the “Jolly Corks”) and was established as a private club . After the death of a member left his wife and children without income, the club took up additional service roles, rituals and a new name. Desiring to adopt “a readily identifiable creature of stature, indigenous to America”, fifteen members voted 8-7 to favor the Elk above the Buffalo. While early members were mostly from theatrical performing troupes in New York City, it has since evolved into a major American fraternal, charitable, and service order with more than a million members, both men and women, throughout the United States. Membership was opened to African Americans in the 1970s, and women were permitted to join in the mid-1990s. The opening of membership to women was mandated by the Oregon Public Accommodations Act, which was found by an appeals court to apply to the BPOE. Current members are required to be U.S. citizens over the age of 21 and to believe in God.
Although the original Elks were actors and entertainers, members of other professions soon joined the organization.
Today’s Elks represent just about the full spectrum of occupations in America. Throughout the course of the Order’s history, many celebrities from the entertainment field, business and public service have been Elks.
- Warren G. Harding
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
- Harry S. Truman
- John F. Kennedy
- Gerald Ford
- George H. Bush
Former President Gerald Ford belongs to Grand Rapids Lodge No. 48, where his father served two terms as Exalted Ruler (President)
Of course, many members of Congress have been Elks, too.
Former Speakers of the House Tip O’Neill, Carl Albert, John McCormick and Sam Rayburn all belonged to the fraternity. Former Speaker Tom Foley belongs to Spokane, WA Lodge. The late Hale Boggs of Louisiana was also an Elk.
- Lawrence Welk
- Will Rogers
- Jack Benny
- Andy Devine
- Clint Eastwood
- William F. Cody “Buffalo Bill”
- Vince Lombardi
- Casey Stengel
- Micky Mantle
- Andy Devine
- Whitey Ford
- Jim Finks
- Eli Manning
General John “Blackjack” Pershing, American general and hero of the First World War, hailed from New York Lodge No. 1 as a lifelong member. 70,000 Elks served in the First World War: 1,000 gave their lives in the service of their country. 100,000 Elks served in the Second World War: over 1,600 made the supreme sacrifice for American freedom.