Albertson - President, Steve
Bodnar, Bucky Ridall, George DiFebo, Roland Shotwell, David
Bogart, Ronald Schell, Brad Collins, Calvin Keefer
Board of Directors
Donna Peters - President, John Buckeye, Krunal
Thakore, Charlie Yohe, A.D. George, James Stradnick
years ago, a magnificent event occurred. BPOE Berwick Elks 1138
opened it’s doors to our community. Our very first Exalted Ruler
was Edward Davis. Many Exalted Rulers were to follow and made
‘OUR LODGE’ was it is today. Our motto – ‘Elks Care-Elks
Share’ continues to grow and cherish with so many wonderful members
who contribute to our just cause of benefiting for our Youth and our
Veterans. How many remember the great bowling alley we used to
enjoy? How about the second floor where many of us were initiated?
Above all, most of remember and continue to our Loving, John Phillips,
who went out of his way to keep our Lodge in tact. He would be so
proud of all the has been accomplished since he has been our ‘absent
member’. He would also love the beautiful Elk out front that stands
proud in his name. To date, our Lodge has over 300 active members.
112 of which are Life Members.!
|Lodge Officers for
Exalted Ruler -
Esteemed Leading Knight - Donna Peters
Esteemed Loyal Knight - John Buckeye
Esteemed Lecturing Knight - Krunal Thakore
Secretary - Jodie Stradnick
Treasurer - Jim Camillocci
Tiler - Bradley Collins
Chaplain - Patrick Hill
Inner Guard - Theresa Hampton
Organist - Beverly Collins
Trustee - A.D. George
Trustee - Charlie Yohe (PER)
Press-Enterprise article was found recently at the Elks Lodge and
thought it would be interesting information to any one who visits our
lodge. This article appeared in the newspaper on Monday, August 7,
1987 on page. 10.
"Tracking Yesterday - Ted
Possible Sale of Berwick Elks Lodge
The appearance of a
"FOR SALE" notice on the lawn of the Berwick Elks Home at
first seemed a discouraging sign. But it isn't as disheartening as
Said one member: "The home will be sold ONLY if
the lodge gets a decent price for the property. Then the plan is
to secure a property and build a smaller easier-to-maintain home."
It is a well-known fact that membership in
practically all lodges has been declining in recent years and the
Berwick Elks are not the only unit planning smaller homes. The
Masons in Berwick have been seeking to sell their large building at
Market and Second streets and have purchased another property in the
hope of building a new but smaller home. Berwick Lodge of Eagles
lost their pretentious home and have
been renting quarters.
In contrast to the situation in most - practically
all - communities is the Masonic Lodge at Orangeville which built a fine
new home in very recent years.
Some time ago we wrote a TY column that told of the
demise of most POS of A (Patriotic Order Sons of American) lodges in the
region and of decreases in the number of Odd Fellow, Knights of Malta
and other secret orders. All had been extremely prominent in
Although here has been a decreased attendance, the
Berwick Lodge of Elks still has a large and impressive
membership. A few months ago Lou Muehlhof, of the lodge,
gave me a photo of the earlier lodge home, also on Second Street, and
gave me much data on the lodge's history. I had planned a Tracking
Yesterday column on it before this but - procrastinator that I am - had
let other topics precede it. Now - as a result of that sign - the
inaction is over.
The Berwick Lodge could be said to have grown out of
the Bloomsburg Lodge. The Bloomsburg roaster had included four
Berwickians as charter members. They were H. W. Bower, J. U Kurtz,
A.D. Seely, and Edward Schenke.
Many other Berwick area men joined the Bloomsburg
Lodge later. Then in 1908, a majority of the members from Berwick
decided to organize a Berwick Lodge. There were 40 transfers from
the Bloomsburg Lodge, which had been organized 10 years earlier in
1898. A temporary organizational meeting was held in the Hanover
Hotel, then a prominent hotel at West Front and Oak streets, Berwick,
with each of the 40 transferees assessed $2 for "working
capital" for the new unit.
At the next session, a committee was directed to
secure an option on the John W. Evans residence on West Second
Street. The extensive work necessary in organizing the new lodge
was progressing too. The Evans home was leased and bids were
secured for remodeling it. (That first Berwick Elks home is shown in the
accompanying photo.) Rent was $25 per month, a substantial rent at
that time. Extensive alterations were made by contractor William
Krug at a cost of $171.50. That's right, $171.50!
Dr. E. L. Davis, as chairman, was notified the Grand
Lodge needed to know the population of Berwick but council said it did
not have such a record. The Elks then employed five members at the
sum of 20 cents per hour to make a census. They learned Berwick
then had 5,094 residents. Cost of the census was $24.70.
Officers elected for the first year, in their order,
were Dr. Davis Mahlon Hetler, Laurence Clewell, John Sutton, H. R.
Oliver, James Fox, Oscar Letteer with J. A. Smurl, J. U. Kurtz and H. W.
Bower as trustees and Avery Sickels (of local trolley fame) as
chaplain. All were prominent in the community.
The lodge grew rapidly. They borrowed from the First
National Bank of Berwick for $1,500 worth of furnishings. Evans
offered to install a new steam heating system if he could raise the
rent, under the lease, to $28 per month. It was done.
In 1912 the lodge talked of buying "our own home"
and nine locations were considered but the project was then
postponed. Two years later there was discussion of buying the
already occupied Evans property for $7000 or the Ranger Hose Company
building, complete with its furniture, for $7,000, but no action was
taken. Then, in 1915, an option was taken to buy the Hanley
residence (site of the present Elks home at $9,000. It was bought
with its 123-foot frontage.
A long series of improvements and additions then was
begun. In 1956, there was a $67,000 improvement, including a new
kitchen, air conditioning, etc. In 1969 fully automatic pinsetters
were placed in the bowling alleys. In 1982, there were $33,000
worth of improvements made. Funds came from food sales, beverages,
parties, dances, and gambling devices and donations.
Inter-community events by Elks were common and every lodge
had its baseball team. Berwick Lodge was among those with a rifle
team. A tennis court had been built in 1915. There were all
kinds of community activities.
In 1952, V. R. Crisman headed a group that began
sponsoring attendance at Protestant and Catholic Sunday Schools and at
the local synagogue. The thing we most vividly remember was that
the Elks was the only location, for years, for the monthly bloodmobile
visits - back when we had the Committee of Five for Blood procurement,
headed by Dr. Jacque Mitrani.
During the salad days of the lodge, Dale C. Andres,
our cousin, was instrumental in setting up a trust fund, interest on
which was to go for such things as taxes, insurance, upkeep, etc.
That trust fund, which has been so important, is over $100,000
now. Taxes on the property are about $5,000. The lodge has
Those are some of the interesting angles in the history of
a long prominent lodge. We feel its future is secure, despite
The Fenstermacher is retired editor of
the Berwick Enterprise and Press Enterprise history columnist."
Sorry the picture is not the best, but it
was taken from a tin type what was once displayed someplace in the Elks
or at an Elk's event.