A Long and Prestigious History
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.