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Then and Now photos: Elks Club

A century ago, the elk population in Spokane was booming. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, commonly known as the Elks Club, had almost 8000 members in Spokane, rivaling the largest groups in the country. The prosperous club laid the foundation for a new “temple,” designed by Kirtland Cutter and Edward Baume in the Italian Renaissance style, in 1919. The national club started in New York City in 1868 as a social club called the Jolly Corks, but later adopted the elk as its mascot. The organization grew rapidly and added charitable work and public service to its activities. Spokane’s Elks Lodge #228 was one of the largest in the nation for many years, but membership dwindled and the building was sold to the North Coast Life Insurance in 1981. Today, the Spokane Elks are based in Spokane Valley, where they host dinners, a bar, live music and RV camping for Elks passing through the area.