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Chico Elks RV Park Gazebo

Chico Elks RV Park Gazebo

The construction of the John Patterson P.E.R. Memorial Gazebo located in the R.V. Park of Chico Elks Lodge 423 was completed and dedicated in November 2001. Funds of approximately $13,000 were raised through the efforts of the Elks R.V. Club to erect this project with the help of many Elk volunteers.

John Patterson was a leader in the Order of Elks as well as his own local Elks Lodge.  John progressed through all the chairs of office and was elected to, and served as Exalted Ruler during the 1972-73 lodge year in the Chico Elks Lodge. Exalted Ruler John was the man on the handle of the golden shovel while breaking ground for our present lodge facility on July 19, 1972.

Brother Patterson was also active in the Elks North District, the California Hawaii Elks Association and the Grand Lodge of the Order of Elks. He served as president of the Past Exalted Rulers association, and served over 14 years as secretary of Chico Elks Lodge.

John and his wife,  Dorothy, were civic leaders throughout the community of Chico. He held some of the highest positions of office in the Masonic Lodge and it’s entities, serving as president of the Shriners  Club. Brother John was also active in many other service clubs, such as the Lions Club.

The memorial Gazebo at the R.V. Park is not only for the use of our Chico Lodge members, but is also for the convenience of visiting Elks who may be staying in the R.V. Park. The undercover area has six nice picnic tables, barbecues and even a large ceiling fan for summer use. The weather vane on top of the cupula features, what else, an Elk!

I’m sure many of our newer members, as well as some longtime members, are unaware of the existence of this facility. Take a walk down the long sidewalk to the picnic area and enjoy the view of this beautiful structure.

By Charlie Carroll, PDDGER, Lodge Historian

World War I and World War II

A History of the Order of Elks Involvement in World War I and World War II

The entrance of our country into World War I was faced by the members of the Order of Elks with coura-geous loyalty and devotion in the support of our great country’s efforts.

Anticipating the desire of the Grand Lodge to take appropriate action, the Grand Exalted Ruler, on June 2, 1917, appointed a special committee to ascertain the manner in which the Elks’ resources might most effectively be employed. On July 11, 1917, this committee presented a report to the Grand Lodge convention then in session at Boston, MA , recommending that a special war relief fund be provided. The report was adopted and one million dollars was appropriated to this fund. The Elks National War Relief Commission then was appointed with control to administer this fund.

The first activity of the Commission was to provide for two Base Hospitals. These were the first base hospitals to reach the battle area in France.

As the maimed and wounded of our forces returned home in ever-increasing numbers, their treatment and rehabilitation was essential.

The Commission, after securing the grateful approval of the US Government, purchased a commanding site on Parker Hill, in the city of Boston, and erected thereon a reconstruction hospital with a seven-hundred bed capacity. It was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies and turned over to the US Government on November 16, 1918, by the order of Elks. It was he first of such hospitals to be established in the United States.

At the Grand Lodge Convention at Atlantic City in 1918, an additional one million dollars was appropriated by Elks. Plans were drawn for another hospital to be erected in New Orleans. Shortly thereafter the Armistice was signed ending World War I, which made unnecessary the construction of this building.

Upon his triumphant return to America from the battlefields of France, General John J. Pershing, who had long been an Elk and had given many evidences of his interest in, and loyalty to, the Order of Elks, was tendered a formal public reception in the city of New York on September 9, 1919. On that eventful occasion he withdrew for a time from his public appearance in order to greet officials and members of the Order of Elks in the lodge room of New York Lodge No. 1. In an address there, he graciously referred to his membership in the Order, and said:

No one knows better than an Elk what the Order stands for; and realizing, as I do, just what the vows of an Elk require him to do, prescribing in many ways the conduct of his life, I can readily appreciate, and do appreciate, the great work that has been accomplished by the Order of Elks.

World War II found our Government better equipped to meet emergencies than World War I. It was unnecessary for civilians to send medical units overseas or to build hospitals at home, but there was much to be done on the home front. Among the outstanding contributions of the Elks to the country was their effective cooperation with the armed service in recruiting programs.

Over one hundred thousand Elks wore the uniform of our armed forces in World War II. Eighteen hundred died for our country. They were our Brothers carrying on in the front lines to preserve our country and our homes. The wartime activities of the Elks were inspired by the spirit of patriotism, which is the Order’s proud heritage, a heritage enriched by the sacrifices of those who, in two world wars, offered “their all” to their country.

Chico Lodge #423 was actively supportive during both of these world wars. During World War II. The Chico Air Base was located here from 1942 thru 1945. Chico Elks Lodge offered its complete facility located at 330 Wall Street to be used as headquarters by the Corp of Officers Club from early 1942 until the end of the war.

By Charlie Carroll, PDDGER—Lodge Historian

Chico Lodge’s Original Charter Members

The preliminary organizational meeting of Chico Elks Lodge was conducted on March 12, 1898. Two weeks later, March 26, 1898 the lodge was instituted by District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler, J. O. Reis of San Francisco Lodge No. 3. He was assisted by the officers of Sacramento Lodge #6 who served as Grand Lodge officers. Chico Lodge received it’s charter May 12, 1898.

Following the institution of the lodge, the same Grand Lodge officers conducted the initiatory ceremonies for the forty-three charter members, as well as the installation of the first corp. of officers of Chico Lodge #423. A.L. Nichols, a prominent Chico business owner and civic leader of the community served as the first Exalted Ruler.

The inaugural banquet and reception was held at the old Park Hotel at the northwest corner of Main Street and 4th Street. For that festive occasion, the food did not cost a great deal, only $131.65. However, the wine bill was $166.50 for all attending.


A. L. Nichols was the first Exalted Ruler and was one of the outstanding leaders in the Organization of Chico Elks Lodge.
Ed Harkness was the lodge’s first Treasurer, an office he continued to hold as long as he lived. To him, unquestionably, goes the major credit for the lodge’s financial success.

Charter Members

Nichols, A. L.
Taylor, G. H.
Sanford, E. L.
Remele, Fred R.
Barker, John W.
Meek, Chas. A.
Campbell, J. H.
Daly, John C.
Barnes, J. L.
Cunningham, C. A.
Langguth, Fred
Barnard, T. H.
Meybem, Emil
Wilson, Wm. W.
Mansfield, J. H.

Rodley, J. Ellis
Hammon, W. P.
Beebee, R. M.
Matheson, D. A.
Jones, A. F.
Montgomery, J. W. B.
Carter, Ed. G.
Harkness, Ed.
Clark. J. T.
Norman, R. A.
Abrahams, Al
Simms, J. O.
Williams, F. C.
Thomas, Chas.

Sproul, J. D.
Henshaw, Park
Biggs, E. E.
Daniels, Geo. H.
Goodspeed, O. C. P.
Sawtell, J. H.
Fetherston, Geo.
Mansfield, H. C.
Cussick, John
Canfield, E. E.
Baemers, R. H.
Cussick, Barney
Hunter, R. J.
Freeman, W. V.

Today many of these names can be recognized as streets, roads and buildings throughout the Chico area. These
dedicated Elk members were true Pioneers of Chico!

Charlie Carroll, PDDGER—Lodge Historian

A Fondness for Show Biz

Certainly, from the very beginning, the Order of Elks had a fondness for “Show Biz”, as all 15 original charter members were of the theatrical profession. Credited for the founding of the Order of Elks, Charles A. Vivian was a professional actor, vocalist and comedian who immigrated to New York City from London, England. Vivian was the central figure around whom gathered many members of the theatrical profession. Charles Vivian was an extremely colorful entertainer and attracted many friends who enjoyed hanging out with him as he possessed a tremendous sense of humor.

Prior to the formal organization of the Order of Elks, the 15 charter members informally named their entertaining group the “Jolly Corks.” This occurred in the Fall of 1867.The Order of Elks was formally organized and instituted February 16, 1868. In spite of the new benevolent organization, the “Jolly Corks” continued in existence until at least 1869. The desire for companionship which brought these men together was also the inspiration for the development of the fraternal instincts which gave birth to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

It appears that all 15 charter members of the Order were young budding actors or entertainers of some kind. Let us fast forward 83 years. On September 30, 1951, during a television interview between host Ed Sullivan and actress Helen Hayes, Mr. Sullivan said, “You know, I suppose you have been asked this question before, Miss Hayes. How did you ever become an actress?” Miss Hayes replied as follows… “Well, possibly I never would have been an actress if my father hadn’t been a member of the Order of Elks, certainly if he hadn’t been indirectly connected with the theater as Chairman of the Entertainment Committee of his Elks Lodge in Washington DC. Certainly, I doubt that my mother would have ever talked him into giving us round trip tickets to New York and $50 for a week there, but my mother was convinced that if her eight year old daughter could make an audience of Elks members laugh in Washington, she could do it on old Broadway!”