A Long and Prestigious History


1894: The Waterloo Edge Lodge Opens

The Elks Lodge was founded on October 12, 1894.  Since then, Charter Member Charles E. Pickett was appointed to the organization’s highest national position of Grand Exalted Ruler, and nine members have been appointed as State President of the Iowa Elks Association.


1917: The Elks Purchased its Current Property

The Elks purchased its current property in 1917 from the Julian Richards estate. The building was one of the finest oil residences in the city, being well-constructed and large enough to accommodate the lodge temporarily. The building was remodeled to accommodate a ballroom; members bar and card room and billiard room. In the basement there were four bowling alleys, a gymnasium, grill, kitchen and serving pantry, along with showers, lockers and the boiler rooms.


1924: The Lodge’s Permanent Home Constructed

The Lodge existed at several temporary locations in Waterloo until construction of its permanent residence in 1924 at 407 E. Park Avenue, where it now permanently displays its magnificent and unique character.  The building was dedicated with a cornerstone that same year.


1950s-1960s: A Time of Growth

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the membership of the Lodge reached over 3,000, providing members from Waterloo, Cedar Falls, and surrounding communities with social activities, meeting facilities, and extraordinary food services for large and small gatherings.


2007: Major Renovations Made

To preserve the history and grandeur of the Lodge, the building underwent extensive renovations in January 2007.  The renovations were completed in November of that year, allowing the lodge to operate more efficiently while preserving its magnificent architecture and its display of treasured Tiffany stained glass which exists throughout the building.


2021: Serving the Community

The facility has continued to support the needs of the community for over a century in addition to providing a gathering place for all Lodge members.

Supporting America’s Youth

The Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks of the United States of America offers many no-cost programs that can be used by local schools to provide a better education and more opportunities to enrich the lives of students. With over 2,100 Lodges in communities across the nation, we’re helping build a better future for our youth by developing programs throughout the nation.

Elks Hoop Shoot

In collaboration with other local Lodges, Elks Lodge 290 puts on a no-cost free throw contest. Boys and girls ages 8-9, 10-11 and 12-13 see who can sink the most free throws and prove their net-stuffing skills. Competition begins in the fall and concludes in April. Competition begins at the school level before advancing to local, district, state, regional and national competitions. Since its beginning in 1946, the Hoop Shoot has grown to include more than 3 million participants annually, making it the largest co-educational sports program in the country.

Extracurricular Programs

In addition to our dedication to helping students in the classroom, we support a wide range of extracurricular activities. This includes Girls and Boys Clubs; 4-H programs; Little League, football and soccer teams; debate and speech programs; fine arts contests; and other local youth organizations. Our Lodge also sponsors Girl and Boy Scout troops by offering our building as a meeting place and for the presentation of the Eagle Scout certificate and flag.

Drug Awareness and Prevention Program

Lifestyle choices begin at an early age. To ensure that children are making the right steps, we provide age-appropriate information to the community and local schools, such as coloring pages and informational brochures. These learning materials are available at no cost.

Veterans Services

The Elks have pledged not to forget our nation’s veterans. Every year, Elks members visit hundreds of thousands of veterans across the nation who reside at VA medical centers, outpatient clinics and state veterans homes. We also host fish fries specifically for veterans and take those who are able to area events. In addition, we faithfully send birthday cards and Christmas calendars to remind veterans they are not alone during what can be difficult times.

cops and Kids Christmas Shopping

In conjunction with local police officers, we sponsor an annual Cop and Kids Christmas Shopping trip. Here, children who are less fortunate have the opportunity to go Christmas shopping with officers to buy gifts for themselves and their families.


Each year, the Elks National Foundation awards more than $3 million in college scholarships to future leaders. All scholarships are either nation or statewide and are not exclusive to local Lodges.

Most Valuable Student Award

Each year, the Elks National Foundation awards 500 high school seniors with up to $60,000 over four years. Second and third place recipients (both male and female) receive $40,000 and $20,000, respectively. The Foundation also awards 494 $4,000 scholarships, totaling more than $2 million of scholarships awarded.

Emergency Grants

Children of disabled or decreased members are eligible for emergency grants to help cover various expenses. The member must have been in good standing for at least one year prior to death or disability. Applications can be picked up and dropped off at the Elks Lodge 290 secretary’s office.

Vocational Grants

Each year, the Iowa Elks Association grants a minimum of 12 $500 scholarships to high school seniors or nontraditional students pursing a 2-year degree of less. These are awarded every May. Applications can be picked up and dropped off at the Elks Lodge 290 secretary’s office.

Legacy Grants

High school seniors who are a child or grandchild of a living Elks member are eligible for legacy grants. The Elks member must be up-to-date on organizational dues. Applications for legacy grants must be submitted online. For more information or to apply, go to elks.org/enf/scholars.