Our Lodge History
In 1923, the Palo Alto Elks Lodge was founded with the help of our sister Lodge in San Mateo. Our Lodge was originally located in downtown Palo Alto and formed with 100 members; half were new members and half were transfers from San Mateo.
Our first meeting place was the Native Sons Hall on the corner of Emerson Street and Hamilton Avenue. After a few years, we moved to the University Pharmacy Building on the corner of University Avenue and High Street.
In the early years, many local businessmen joined the Lodge and membership rapidly increased. However, by 1929 the looming depression had impacted our membership greatly. Palo Alto Elks Lodge managed to survive these lean years and soon attracted new members; ultimately outgrowing our downtown location.
In 1937, we moved south to what was then thought of as 'way out in the countryside' to Millers Restaurant which later became the wonderful Rickey's Hyatt House.
In 1941, our forward thinking Board of Trustees purchased eight acres of the surrounding property from Stanford University for the then exorbitant price of $1,000 per acre. Construction of the Palo Alto Lodge began in 1941. We purchased material at cost from a local contractor and fellow Elk, Mr. Wells P. Goodenough.
During this time, America became involved in World War II and many of our Elk Brothers entered the armed forces serving with great distinction. The post war boom ushered in a period of rapid growth.
In 1949 we embarked on the first major expansion of our original Lodge by adding a large ballroom and Lanai, plus an outdoor swimming pool and picnic grove. This expansion also included a 12' by 27' glass-enclosed barbecue pit with a capacity for 155 steaks at a time or a total of 755 in a little over an hour and a half. On February 15, 1949, nearly 800 guests attended the expansion celebration.
The New Lodge
In 2005, a portion of the original eight acre property was sold to fund a state-of-the-art Palo Alto Elks Lodge. The new Lodge is anchored by a fully equipped cardio-fitness center and the latest Life Fitness equipment, plus extensive recreational facilities that include racquetball & handball courts. Other wonderful facets of the Lodge, include Grand Ballroom, swimming pool and patio with surrounding garden, indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis, sauna and steam rooms, billiards, library and card room, large BBQ area, and conference room to accommodate the philanthropic, fitness and social activities of the Palo Alto Elks.