Originally the regular meeting dates of Chico Elks Lodge were the first and third Fridays of each month. The initiation fee has varied from $1 per new member to $100 per member. The membership dues were originally, $1.00 per month.
Currently and for the past several decades, regular meetings of the lodge have been conducted on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, with the first, third and fifth Wednesdays designated as “club nights”. The third Wednesday is always reserved for the birthday celebrants of that particular month and a complementary New York steak dinner is served to honored birthday members. These members may wish to include friends and family to celebrate with them.
In the beginning, the jurisdiction of Chico Elks Lodge extended from Sacramento north to the Oregon border. Through the years, that jurisdiction has been divided by forming new districts consisting of many new local subordinate lodges. Not withstanding the fact that the creation of lodges in these adjacent localities, particularly Oroville, Marysville, Paradise, Willows and Red Bluff, resulted in many dimits from the Chico Lodge as members transferred their membership to the city or town where they lived. However, Chico lodge kept pace with the growth of the community and prospered.
In the early days of Chico lodge’s Friday night meetings, often times the meeting would last well past 11 o’clock. This made it necessary to conduct the traditional 11 o’clock toast. In regard to the Elks’ 11 o’clock toast and it’s origin… It would almost be mandatory the pre-1900 Elks would be expected to compose a beautiful toast extemporaneously at will, and the custom is as old as the Order of Elks. However, that is another story…
Thursday, June 15th, at approximately 6 pm, our current elected and appointed officers for the 2017-2018 Lodge year will conduct a historically interesting and entertaining presentation. Each officer will post and display various historical flags dating from 1775 to our present day 50 star flag.
Our special speaker will be our own Citizen of the Year and Commander of VFW Post 1555, Michael Halldorson. There will also be a vocal performance by two of our own Chico Elks Lodge #423 members, Sister Julie Giezentanner and Brother Larry Lambert.
The regular Thursday night dinner will be served at 7 pm, immediately following the program. Please plan to attend this very special event as I’m sure you too, as patriotic Americans, will enjoy and appreciate the program. As Elks, we will pay a just tribute to the flag of our country, the emblem of freedom and the symbol of unity.
Unlike the crisis that was averted here locally last month, the tragic Johnstown Flood of May 31, 1889, resulted in the deaths of over 2,200 people. However, much like our local situation, it involved the largest earth filled dam in the United States at the time (constructed of dirt, rock and gravel, rather than concrete and steel.) The dam created the largest man-made lake of that time in the United States, Lake Conemaugh.
Johnstown is located 60 miles east of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in a valley at the fork of the Conemaugh and Stony Creek Rivers. The dam was built in 1840, however it had fallen into disrepair in the following years from 1840 to 1889. Steady rains during late May 1889 caused a spillway at the dam to become clogged with debris that could not be dislodged. At 3:10 pm, the dam collapsed causing a roar that could be heard for miles. All of the water from Lake Conemaugh rushed forward at 40 miles per hour, sweeping away everything in its path. The wall of flood water grew at times to 60 feet high. Johnstown residents in the path of the rushing flood waters were often crushed as their homes and other structures were swept away.
Although the Order of Elks was in it’s infancy having been instituted March 28, 1869, it immediately lived up to the cardinal principals of the order. Quick to hear the cry of distress and fleet of foot to relieve the unfortunate, our great fraternal order donated thousands of dollars for relief to the victims of this disaster. And thus B.P.O.E. began its tradition of helping American citizens.
Compared to our own recent Lake Oroville crisis, Chico Elks Lodge #423 sprang to answer the call of emergency needs of local victims, much like our response by the entire order of Elks did in 1889.
Residents of Butte County and the immediate areas south of here were very fortunate to have been alerted to the danger and advised to evacuate by one of our own members, Sheriff Kory Honea.
The Chico Lodge should well be proud of their immediate efforts to respond to the needs of many evacuees by offering shelter, including the lodge’s RV Parks and grounds.