Babe Ruth, Ben Affleck, Buffalo Bill and Clint Eastwood are famous for different reasons, but they can all claim membership in The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
At Lodge No. 1, formerly located in Manhattan until the 1960s but now based in Lynbrook, well-known members included Harry Houdini, Irving Berlin, Cardinal Francis Joseph Spellman and New York City Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia.
To become an Elk, candidates must be recommended by an existing member from any Elks Lodge, and have two co-sponsors. When Ruth applied, his sponsors were New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker and Gov. Al Smith. Ruth’s application is on display in the Lynbrook lodge’s Heritage Room.
“It gives us pride that we’ve had so many prominent members over the years,” said Al Hoffman, a Franklin Square resident who has been an Elk for 29 years and is the lodge’s unofficial historian. “Back then, anybody who was anybody at one time was trying to get in as a member.”
Members of other Elks lodges included Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and five former presidents, among them John F. Kennedy.
According to Hoffman, every Elk gets treated the same, regardless of fame or social status.
“When you’re a member, you could be the CEO of the company or you could be some guy working in a supermarket stocking shelves, and you have the same rights.”
Connect with the Elks
Elks Lodge No. 1
57 Hempstead Ave.
Lynbrook, NY 11563-1639