This elk statue stood in the original lobby of La Grande Elks Lodge No. 433 until 1960. The picture was taken at the Oregon State Elks Association Convention in Eugene in the parade in 1963. Left to right (back row) are: Roesch Fitzgerald, Bob Rutherford, Bill Pieper; (front row) Joe Harrison, Bob Zweifel and Spud Olson; all Past Exalted Rulers.
In February, 1961, Enterprise issued a challenge to La Grande for a pinochle and cribbage tournament. We had a large sign-up so 433 hired a bus for the trip to Enterprise in the winter.
In April, 1961, Vernon J. “Bus” Courtney was elected Exalted Ruler. The building committee came before the Lodge with a revised remodeling plan that would now cost $115,000.00. A special meeting was advertised and after much heated discussion about depleting our savings fund, it was narrowly passed to proceed with remodeling our facilities.
In July, 1961, Exalted Ruler V. “Bus” Courtney went to the Grand Lodge Convention in Miami, Florida.
In August the Lodge sponsored the Annual Elks Golf Tournament and showed a profit of $460.00.
In October, Oregon’s Past Grand Exalted Ruler Frank J. Lonegran passed away. La Grande Lodge went on record to support Frank Hise of the Corvallis Lodge as candidate for our highest office.
La Grande Lodge had always set up a Christmas tree in the middle of the intersection of Depot Street and Washington Avenue, and decorated it for the Christmas holidays and the Kiddies Christmas Party.
This year, 1961, was the last year we put the tree in the middle of the intersection. It was declared to be a traffic hazard by the City Council.
In 1961 there were either lots of deer and elk or lots of hunters because 716 hides were turned in for the Veterans Hide Program. This was also the year the Lodge started the “drawing” at Lodge as we still have it today. The amount would vary as it built up and was finally won, then would start over again from the 20% that had been kept in reserve.
In January, 1962, our long-time organist, Brother Ray Williams, had a heart attack at Lodge. Brother Kelly Moore tried resuscitation on him but was unsuccessful.
In February an initiation class was named after Byron Hibbets who had made a sizeable bequest in his will to our Lodge to go to the Elks Eye Clinic.
The dues were raised from $15.00 to $25.00 and a Life Membership was now $500.00.
In February of 1962 the $115,200.00 remodeling project had been finished. The grand opening was held in conjunction with the Annual Birthday Ball and Banquet. It is called the Birthday Ball because our Order was founded by a group called the “Jolly Corks” on February 20, 1868.
In April A. B. “Spud” Olson was elected Exalted Ruler. The beauty shop that our Lodge had funded at Hot Lake Sanitorium was discontinued because state inspectors had declared the sanitorium unsafe and unsanitary for use as apartments for the elderly, so everyone had to move out. Our Lodge was left with some beauty shop equipment on our hands. There was some exercise equipment left also and we voted to buy that and set it up in our locker room along with some new equipment to complete our exercise gym.
In June, 1962, Baker Elks Lodge built their new Lodge building and had their dedication. La Grande 433 attended.
In August, 1962, La Grande Lodge voted to convert the empty lot northwest of our building into a parking lot for members. The lawn was torn out and the sprinkler pipes were sold for $18.00.
At the Summer Session of the Oregon State Elks Convention, La Grande No. 433 made a bid for the Mid-Winter Session in January, 1964 — bid accepted. Exalted Ruler Spud Olson gave an interesting report on the Grand Lodge Convention and his trip to Chicago.
Lake Oswego put out a request for an elk head for their Lodge room. La Grande Lodge voted to give them one we had displayed in the old lobby.
In November, 1962, La Grande Elks received a letter from President Kennedy thanking us for our stand on Cuba.
In November, 1962, La Grande Lodge voted to put up a smaller Christmas tree in front of our Temple, instead of using the live tree at the Dairy Queen on Depot Street.
On March 17, 1963, Brother Bill Kubler was installed as Exalted Ruler. Past Grand Exalted Ruler Frank Hise, who at that time was a Special Deputy to the Grand Exalted Ruler, was present and was Grand Esquire for the installation. Brother Bud Botting began his long Elk career as Chaplain and Brother Bob Zweifel started through the chairs as Esquire.
In May of 1963 Brother Jim Trimble was elected president of the Oregon State Elks Association and Exalted Ruler Bill Kubler was elected sergeant-at-arms. Brother M. J. Goss, a long-time member of La Grande Lodge and a well known businessman who had sold Studebaker automobiles since 1922, passed away.
Exalted Ruler Kubler went to Grand Lodge Session in San Francisco in July.
In August, 1963, Eastern Oregon College informed our Lodge that the student loan fund which had been in effect for nearly 20 years, was in conflict with the college receiving state funds. La Grande Lodge had loaned out over $10,000.00 and had only $770.00 in loans outstanding, which we later received. It was voted to dissolve the loan fund and put it in the general fund.
Burns Lodge had built a new building and 433 was invited to their dedication ceremony. La Grande Eagles Lodge met in the Labor Temple and did not have facilities for a convention. Our Lodge voted to allow them the use of the Elks Temple for their State Convention in the summer of 1964. Exalted Ruler Kubler appointed a large committee for our Mid-Winter Session of the Oregon State Elks Association.
In October, 1963, La Grande Lodge 433 placed second in the District Ritual Contest. Bob Zweifel was first as Esquire and first Inner Guard was Kelly Moore. Exalted Ruler Kubler requested a display cabinet to display and protect the officer’s jewels. It was so voted and was built in the lobby by the entrance to the Ruler’s Roost. At that time we had an elevator and it was in that lobby that we entered or exited from the elevator. After we had remodeled the main lobby, the ceilings were lowered and there was no room for the elk heads: Taft, Tarazan and Teddy. The Lodge voted to hang them over the off1cer’s chairs in the Lodge room. We had a full sized bull elk statue in our old lobby which had to be taken out of the new lobby. He had been nicknamed “Jezebel” because it was rumored to be a cow’s body and a taxidermist had added a bull’s head.
At the 1963 Summer Convention our delegation of officers made a pitch for the Mid-Winter Session for January, 1964. “Jezebel” had been housed in Joe Harrison’s barn. An open horse trailer was hooked onto Joe Harrison’s car and “Jezebel” was shoved into it, horns sticking out above everything, and they made a startling sight as they sailed down the highway, exciting motorists who did not know he was a stuffed dummy. “Jezebel”‘ made quite an impression in the Elks convention parade, because La Grande was designated as the site for the 1964 Mid-Winter Session.
On the first meeting in January, 1964, Exalted Ruler Kubler called attention to the Oregon State Elks Association Convention being in La Grande on January 16-17-18 and the need for good work by the different committees. All members were asked to register early and assist in making our visitors welcome. The weather was cold and the snow was deep so the delegates stayed inside at the meetings or played the games we had set up. It was deemed a very successful Convention and La Grande Lodge made a $5000.00 profit. The La Grande car dealers donated the use of courtesy cars and we hired college boys to drive them to get our guests to and from the Sacajawea Hotel and motels. Most of the guests came by train because of the bad snowy weather. An initiation was put on by the All-State Ritualistic Team; Brother Bob Zweifel was Esquire and Brother Kelly Moore was Inner Guard.
In February, 1964, La Grande pledged $7500.00 towards building the Eastern Oregon Community Center which never materialized.
In March, 1964, a campaign was begun to build a new Grande Ronde Hospital. La Grande Lodge voted to invest $7500.00 in the new bulding.
In April, 1964, Bill Pieper was elected Exalted Ruler and he would go to New York for the Convention.
In May the American Contract Bridge League held their district convention in our Lodge facilities. Due to the fact that there were no wars going on at this time La Grande Lodge voted to stop paying dues for Brothers in the service unless financial help was requested.
In April, 1965, Bob Rutherford became Exalted Ruler and this year the Grand Lodge Convention was in Miami. The Lodge voted to discontinue the College Loan Fund because our state and federal governments were taking over grants and loans to students. The balance of our fund was put into our general fund. President of Eastern Oregon College, A. M. Rempel, thanked our Lodge in person for the help our program had given students.
In October La Grande Lodge voted to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop. It was a close-order drill troop to work with the Baker Elks Boy Scout Drum and Bugle Troop. Our Lodge received $125.00 as a donation from a bridge tournament held in the Lodge. The Mid-Winter Oregon State Elks Association Convention was in Baker. La Grande Lodge was dispensed so a large number of Brothers could attend the sessions in Baker.
Our longtime Secretary Ray Winters was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. His condition got worse and he passed away in March, 1966. He had been secretary of the Lodge since 1925 – 41 years. The last initiation class of 1966 was called the Ray Winters class. A movie was made of the initiation and was shown to Ray while he was in the hospital. A motion was made to present his wife, Mildred, with an appreciation plaque which she then gave back to La Grande Lodge No. 433. It is displayed in the Lodge showcase in the lobby.
Enterprise paid back the building bonds which La Grande had purchased to help them finance their new Lodge home — $10,000.00 plus $1,127.00 interest.
The Grand Lodge had requested that each Lodge buy a film for indoctrination of candidates. La Grande used it and it made for a better indoctrination.
In April of 1966 Roesch Fitzgerald was elected Exalted Ruler. Sam Shorb was elected secretary. The Lodge voted to overhaul and modernize the elevator at a cost of $8,200.00 plus a motion to pay the Otis Elevator Company a monthly inspection fee of $75.00.
Brother Melvin Mortensen represented La Grande Lodge as trustee in the Oregon State Elks Association. The Grand Lodge Convention was in Dallas, Texas, in 1966. The winner of our first hoop shoot was now old enough to become a member. Charles “Murph” Karns was initiated into the Order. Brothers Bob Zweifel and Kelly Moore were first place ritualists as Leading Knight and Lecturing Knight.
La Grande Lodge received $89.00 for their share of profit from the Elks Golf Tournament.
Exalted Ruler Fitzgerald set up a buffet dinner before Lodge. This was the beginning of our Thursday night dinners as we know them today.
In February, 1967, Brother Bob Zweifel was elected Exalted Ruler and members selected the first “Elk of the Year.” Brother August Stange, owner of the Mt. Emily Mill, passed away. Brother Arlo Zuber Noyes, grandson of Mrs. Susan Zuber, who had financed our Lodge Temple from 1916 to 1936, passed away also.
Exalted Ruler Zweifel went to Grand Lodge Convention in Chicago. At that meeting Brother Jim Trimble was appointed District Deputy for Oregon Northeast District. At the same meeting, Lodges were authorized to put stickers on membership cards denoting years of membership.
Our “kitty” drawing was to pay $100.00 for a name of the first ten drawn; $50.00 for the name drawn after that. The record was 52 names drawn before a winner.
The 70th birthday of our Order was in 1968. A special anniversary initiation class was performed and our Birthday Ball was something special.
In April, 1968, Brother Bud Botting was installed as Exalted Ruler. Sam Shorb had resigned as secretary so PER Bob Zweifel was elected. John Williamson began his Elk career as Esquire and at the ritual contest he placed first. La Grande Lodge voted to raise the reinstatement fee from $25.00 to $40.00 — motion passed.
Brother Bill Wilkins resigned from his 25-year role as Santa Claus and he received a big heart-felt “thank you” from the Lodge.
Meadowood Speech Camp and its work with handicapped children was becoming well known. The Oregon State Elks Association asked for and received a commitment from La Grande Lodge No. 433.
In April, 1969, J. Kelly Moore was elected as Exalted Ruler. The House Committee voted to close the rental rooms on the third floor. La Grande Lodge voted to give $1200.00 to the Eastern Oregon College sport support group called the Century Club. In return the Lodge received 12 season sports tickets which we tried to auction off to members, but that failed, So they were kept in the club bar room and loaned out to Brothers who wished to attend an event.
La Grande Lodge supported Frank Hise of Corvallis for his successful bid for Grand Exalted Ruler of Elks Grand Lodge. The Sacajawea Hotel was sold to make room for a new United States Bank building.
In April of 1970 Brother Don Guyer was installed as Exalted Ruler. The Grand Lodge Convention would be in San Francisco.
The house and lot southwest of our building came up for sale. The Lodge voted to buy it for $16,500.00.
In August, after the Elks Golf Tournament party and banquet, our Lodge building caught fire and burned. It gutted the third floor and the Lodge room was badly damaged. The roof was completely gone and the southeast wall was left standing unsupported. While we were waiting for the insurance investigation and report, a temporary roof was put on over the Lodge room. A building committee was appointed immediately and they sent out a questionnaire to all Brothers for written comments on what our rebuilt Temple should be; We held Lodge as usual, but in the Labor Temple above The Wheel restaurant. The insurance company offered to settle for $222,430.00. The offer was accepted.
The Brotherhood of Railroad Engineers donated $50.00 to the Elks Lodge. Our 25-50 year celebration was held on November 10 in the La Grande Armory.
Volunteer Brothers stepped forward to form work parties to help clean up the building. By November 19 the building was back in partial use. An initiation was held in a Lodge meeting in the basement. Several plans for a new, renovated building were studied. Gilco Construction Company of Walla Walla was accepted. Motion made in Lodge not to exceed $350,000.00 for the work.