Cultural Heritage Tours

A project of the ETHNIC HERITAGE CENTER

Lower Dixwell Tour

East Rock Lodge #141, I.B.P.O.E. of W. (Elks)

87 Webster Street

(former)

Original East Rock Lodge. Courtesy Daniel Stewart Booklet

East Rock Lodge #141, I.B.P.O.E. of W. was instituted on December 19, 1907 under the direct supervision of Manhattan Lodge #45 of New York City and Nutmeg Lodge #67 of Hartford, Connecticut. The first exalted Ruler of the Lodge was J.A. Fuller. Henry E. Peters succeeded him. The women’s auxiliary of the Elks, called the “Daughters of Elks,” has also been known as the Pocahontas Temple. The standard Elks uniform includes the black suit, black tie, white shirt, but not the fez or ceremonial regalia that are reserved for special occasions.

The New Haven Elks was especially popular for their annual “Elks Ball,” a statewide event. The Ball was an elaborate event which was held in the CT State Armory on Goffe Street. It was a Who’s Who affair.

Historical records indicate that the African American Elks was created in 1899 by B.G. Howard and Pullman Porter, Arthur J. Riggs, after they were denied membership in the white Elks. It was originally called, “the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks” in Cincinnati, Ohio. The term “Improved” was reserved for African American branches. There was a distinct need for this organization in the African American community. The original building was located at Goffe Street, and was demolished during Redevelopment. Their current building at 87 Webster Street, on the corner of Dixwell Avenue was dedicated in 1968. The Elks have served the community by providing financial, spiritual, emotional support, and other types of help as needed. The Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is reputed to be the largest predominantly Black fraternal organization in the world.

  • Text source courtesy Greater New Haven African American Historical Society.

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