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Order of Elks

Kansas' first Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was organized in Topeka in 1891. As the only lodge in the state, it included members from across Kansas. Originally formed in 1868 in New York, the Elks promote brotherly love, justice, charity, and fidelity. The founding members were involved in the theatrical business. Lodges became involved in communities and supported the local charitable organizations.

The organization adopted its name from the American animal that lived in herds, one of the largest native quadrupeds. The Elks organization encouraged members to model the animal's traits: fleet of foot, graceful in movement, quick and keen of perception, gentle and timorous, strong and valiant in defending its own.

Elks lodges were established in other communities around the state including Concordia in 1900, Newton in 1901, Wichita in 1905, and Junction City in 1906.

Entry: Order of Elks

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: February 2011

Date Modified: December 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.