The El Rey Theatre in Chico California was commissioned to be built by the Chico Elks Lodge #423. In May of 1903 a vacant lot on W. 2 nd Street, adjacent to the Chico Public Library was acquired, currently the building at this location is known at the El Rey Theatre of Chico.
As a result of Chico Elks Lodge #423 acquiring the real property, an elegant three story building was erected of brick and stone featuring elaborate decorative masonry work. The construction of the first Lodge home was performed by Miller & Mathews Contractors and Commercial Builders of San Francisco. The Chico Elks contracted to build the 30,000 square foot facility and completed it on time for $38,870. The lower floor at street level was leased out to the owners of the Majestic Theatre Company, and is now known as the El Rey Theatre in Chico. The Lodge offices and kitchen were located on the second floor while the third floor served as the Lodge meeting room, bar and ballroom.
This beautiful new home and Chico Landmark was completed and dedicated early in 1907. This facility served as the Chico Elks Lodge’s home for the next 30 years.
In 1938 the property and building were sold to the parent company of the Majestic Theatre for $50,000 cash, with the Lodge reserving a lease on the second and third floors of the building. The Lodge continued to conduct its meetings and social activities at the above mentioned location from 1938 until March 1941.
By Charlie Carroll, PDDGER – Lodge Historian