History of our Lodge
Elks Lodge was installed on February 16, 1911 in the Fraternity Hall at the Pheil Building
on the south side of Central Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Streets. Through the
kindness of the Woodmen Circle of which Mrs. T. A. Whitted was Guardian, she obtained
permission from the Odd Fellows to use Fraternity Hall for an hour. St. Petersburg Lodge
1224 was initiated by officers of Tampa Lodge 708 around 5pm and the presiding District
Deputy was Jefferson B. Brown of Key West, who later became Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of Florida.
39 charter members of which 35 were initiates and 4 were transfers from Tampa 708. St.
Petersburg's first Exalted Ruler was Edward Lewis, 1911-1912, a wealthy industrialist in
St. Petersburg and owner of Lewis Island, now known as Coquina Bay.
1923 - The northwest corner of 4th Street and 3rd Avenue South, now the site of the Chamber CLICK TO ENLARGE
of Commerce, was bought around 1923 and a huge club house was constructed. It included a basement theatre seating 500, club rooms, and dining facilities on the first floor. There was a large meeting room on the second floor and rental rooms on the third floor for bachelor Elks. By 1926 the Lodge had 1,750 members (25% of the entire state membership), the largest marching band of the state, and the largest mortgage.
1936 the membership was down to 400, 200 of whom were dropped for non-payment of dues, and the clubhouse was given to the bondholders. With $10 in the bank, they bought the first three floors of an unfinished bank building at 735-737 Arlington Avenue North for $30,000, payable out of the rentals of a few small apartments on the third floor. That year the legislature authorized slot machines and they paid the mortgage.
St. Pete Lodge Celebrates it's 25th Anniversary with a special meeting at which many dignitaries of the order were present. Very impressive were the numbers of congratulatory telegrams received. Telegrams were received from "President D. Roosevelt, Grand Exalted Ruler James T. Hallinan, Grand Secretary J. Edgar Masters and Governor David Sholtz, member of the Board of Grand Trustees."
April 13, 1945 - The Lodge gathered at 8pm for a special Memorial Service dedicated to the memory of President Roosevelt. Grand Exalted Ruler Dr. Robert South Barrett who was vacationing in St. Petersburg delivered the eulogy. The Lodge Exalted Ruler Lee Hayman, presided and conducted the ceremony.
February 16, 1951 - The Lodge observed its 40th Anniversary along with a celebration of the 83rd Anniversary of the Order at their 735-737 Arlington Avenue Lodge. The Lodge initiated a large class of candidates on this occasion, the chairs were filled by Past Grand Exalted Rulers, who opened the Lodge, conducted business, initiation of candidates and closing of Lodge.
February 16 and 17, 1961 - The Lodge marks its 50th Anniversary with a two day celebration. Still located at 735-737 Arlington Avenue. On Friday February 17 the program began with a Memorial Dedication. A social program was held immediately following the Service. The Lodge itself opened its meeting at 8pm honouring all past Exalted Rulers. Principal speaker was Charles H. Peckelis, FSEA President. The speakers highlighted that among the many endeavours of the Lodge the sponsorship formation and financing of the Florence Crittendon Home as well as establishing the original Juvenile Court in Pinellas.
January 30, 1970 - Dedication ceremonies for the Lodge new home at 2675 66th Street North began at 4pm with District Deputy David Luikart presiding. Guest of honour was FSEA President Dr. Lamar Johnston and his wife at a 5pm reception followed by a dinner at 6:30pm. A dance followed with music by the Harvey Rogers Orchestra.
February 1 to February 11, 1986 - A seven day Diamond Jubilee Celebration (75 years ) was held by the Lodge. The Exalted Ruler was Anthony G. Turturiello .Events were planned for February 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11th. In attendance at the Gala were Grand Exalted Ruler, John Traynor who gave the main address, also present were PGER's George Klein and Robert Grafton.
March 7, 1992 - A mortgage burning ceremony was held at a dinner with PDD David G. Anderson serving as chairman. Guests included Past State Presidents Charles M. Pride, Victor O. Wehle, David Luikart, and Russ Jurgensen.
March 26, 1996 - First Woman Member of St. Petersburg Lodge, Evelyn Acker.
2004 - First Woman Exalted Ruler is elected, Patti J. Iverson.
November 3, 2011 - The Hon. C. W. Bill Young of Florida rose in the House of Representatives and asked the Speaker to recognize the 100th Anniversary of St. Petersburg Elks Lodge. Page E1998 Congressional Records.
November 11, 2011 - The Lodge holds the celebration of the 100th anniversary to coincide with the number 11/11/11, James Rasmussen is the Exalted Ruler. The Lodge had a catered dinner buffet by Banquet Masters and is entertained by the music of Dazzler Among many Congratulatory letters received are letters from Grand Exalted Ruler David R. Carr, Governor Rick Scott and City of St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster.
February 23, 2016 - The Lodge holds 7:00pm Lodge Meeting, Initiation and Election of Officers is held.. For the first time in the history of the Lodge the ER, Leading Knight Loyal Knight and Lecturing Knight elected are all females. The elected 2016-2017 Officers are: Joanne Matos - Exalted Ruler, Bonnie Barnes - Leading Knight, Cathy Shriver - Loyal Knight and Dawn Lieber - Lecturing Knight.
July 2016 Grand Lodge Convention in Houston TX - St. Petersburg ER Joanne Matos receives a plaque for the Lodge having finished 2nd Place in the Nation for All American Lodge Division 5 for the calendar year 2015-2016.
2016 – 2017 During Exalted Ruler Joanne Matos' year 2016 to 2017, St. Petersburg Lodge continued its positive work in the community through its support of other local non-profits and the lodge continued commitment to the veterans and kids. The lodge and its members surpassed its previous year achievements and goals.
December 2017 Lodge volunteers put together 300 food baskets.to givefoods to the different organizations, the Lodge used $6,500 in Grants, The Grants used were: The Gratitude Grant, The Beacon Grant, the Anniversary Grant and the FSEA State President Grant. The balance of food that was still needed was donated by the many members of the Lodge to fill the 300 food baskets and the food pantries and that equated to well over $1,700 in food donations and gift cards for a total of $8200 donated to the community.
2017 - 2018 Under the direction of Exalted Ruler Bonnie Barnes, the lodge has continued its effort to ensure that the community we share is a bright and enjoyable place to live. ER Barnes is very proud to be part of an organization with such deep and lasting roots in her community, 'the lodge isn’t just a local organization — it’s an institution that has become part of the community’s fabric for the last 107 years'.
February 16, 2018 Marks the date on which St. Petersburg Lodge 1224 first was installed back in 1911. During the last 107 years, the lodge has changed and evolved with the times, yet it has held onto its founding principles true to this day - continued expansive community involvement and the unending commitment to the veterans and kids
May 2018 St. Petersburg 1224 earns 4 Top Place Awards during the Florida Elks State Convention. #1 in percent of Membership Growth, #1 for Best Lodge Bulletin, #1 for Best Orientation and #2 for Best Website. In further news, during the month of May the lodge awarded two $1,500 scholarships. One went to Sophia Augyst-Laulette, a Senior at Boca Ciega High School who will pursue a degree in Nursing in the fall at State College of Florida. One went to Thailer Grohn, a Senior at Osceola High School will pursue a degree in Marine Biology at FL International University.
September 2018 Lodge donated $5,000 to this year’s Parade of Heroes event taking place in Washington, DC Nov 8-10. This event honors, recognizes and brings healing to those who sacriﬁced for our nation. It features outstanding bands, choirs and JROTC cadets from around the country paying a special tribute to our Veterans of WWII, Korean and Vietnam wars. The attending Veterans will also enjoy excursions to the monuments and memorials as well as engaging in other special activities planned just for them.
March 2019 The Lodge continues to support many charities. For example, it recently donated $500 to Lighthouse for the Blind, sponsored two teams for the FSEA Softball Tournament supporting our FL Elk Major Projects (Youth Camp & Children’s Therapy Services), have a team playing in and sponsoring a hole for the FSEA Golf Tournament, donated $500 to SE Guide Dogs.
July 2019 During the 2nd Grand Lodge 151st session during the Fraternal Committee presentation at the convention in St. Louis, the lodge proudly earned and accepted the title All American Lodge Division V through their hard work in our community and in the dedication to our veterans
The History of Lodge 1224 since its inception on February 16, 1911 was gathered from various public news publications starting in 1911- 2008, these publications were: the St. Petersburg Morning Times, St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg Evening Independent. Information from the USF Library, Elks Magazine and from stories appearing in the Lodge Spotlight monthly publications are also included. All information was researched and organized by May Graci, PLP, Lodge Public Relations.
History of our Ladies of Elks Auxiliary
There is a saying that behind every successful man is a good woman, well behind our Lodge is a great Organization, the Ladies of Elks Auxiliary (LOEA). Originally called the Anna Miller Circle, named to honor Anna Miller, who with her husband Harry R. P. Miller a retired financier were instrumental in starting the Harry-Anna Home for crippled children in Umatilla, Florida. A number of years ago the name of the Organization was changed to better identify itself with the Benevolent and Protective Order Of Elks (BPOE). To be eligible for Membership in the LOEA you must be a spouse, surviving spouse, or a member of the BPOE, 21 years of age or older and in good standing with the Lodge.
The St. Petersburg #1224 LOEA organized on March 24, 1924 and later Chartered by Articles of Incorporation dated June 19, 1929. They have the distinction of being recognized as the oldest Ladies organization in the State. Started with 10 members, they have increased to a healthy group in numbers.
Meetings were held in the Elks Building on Fourth Street and Third Avenue, South which at the time was the largest Lodge in Florida. During this era, the Ladies organized Lodge card parties and also the Festival of States card parties.
In 1933, during the Depression Era when the Lodge ran into financial difficulty, the ladies presented the Lodge with $3,500. To show their appreciation the Lodge presented the LOEA the Gavel that is still used today during their regular meetings on the second Monday of the month at 7:30pm. Officer's meetings are held the first Monday of the month.
The Lodge then moved into a new building at 737 Arlington Avenue North and gave the LOEA permission to use their back room to hold meetings, there they held their first organized meeting on September 12, 1935 with Amelia Parker as President. The Ladies were instrumental in completing the painting and furnishing of the new Lodge and also presented the Lodge with the Ritual Altar's Table and Cloth as well as a Piano.
In 1940 the LOEA instituted an Honorary Past President (HPP) Title. Any Secretary or Treasurer serving three years in their office is pinned as an HPP.
In 1947, Past President Lena Thomas presented the first Installation of the Ladies of Elks including the Line of March which was used through 2005.
In 1959, Memorial Services were organized as a Ritual in the month of March of each year. In 1977, Edna Whiting Revised the Service with the help of the Ladies State Chairman.
In 1963, President Urma Ferguson with the help of Exalted Ruler A. Valthelette, re-silvered and made new jewels for the Officers of the Lodge. During this era the LOEA served the lunches for Lodge #1224 after all their meetings and also cooked and served buffet meals every Friday and Saturday night.
September 1969. St. Petersburg Ladies of Elks Auxiliary, hosted their first Ladies Conference. The Florida Ladies of Elks 6th Conference. Chairlady: Mrs. Alton Smith. Co-Chairlady: Mrs. Russell D. Woods.
In 1970, the Lodge purchased the building that it now occupies and made various and extensive improvements.
During a September 1982 Meeting a proposal was made to have Life Membership Awards to ladies that had been members of the LOEA for Twenty Five (25) Years or longer. The proposal was voted on and accepted as a By-Law.
During the October 1982 Regular Meeting the proposed By Law was re-read, voted on and accepted. Nine ladies who have been members of the St. Petersburg LOEA for 25 years or longer were mailed letters inviting them to the November 1982 meeting to be presented with a Life Membership Certificate and Card. The First Life Members to be presented with a Certificate were Sybil Smith, Genereve Paceleep, Selma Newhard, Edna Whiting, Urma Ferguson, Marion Hitchens, Ethel Rothblatt, Carrie Lopez and Tess Forsythe. The presentation was made by Lorrayne Tuturiello, LOEA President.
July 5, 1990 Ladies Organizations were finally officially recognized at the Grand Lodge Convention when an amendment to Article III, Section 18 of the Grand Lodge Constitution was ratified by the subordinate Lodges and is now published in the Laws of the Order. A subordinate Lodge, by appropriate amendment to its bylaws, may recognize a Ladies organization as an auxiliary to that Lodge, provided its aims and purposes are consistent with those of the Order.
March 12, 2001, Charles Barnes becomes the first male inducted as a member of the LOEA, ending a 77 year tradition of exclusively female membership. The Ladies recognized that male members are an asset to the organization and are needed for membership to grow.
2006 The “Bucks to Boots” fundraiser was started by Cathy Shriver, Terri Rasmussen and Sue Mulligan and was planned and completed in about four weeks. These ladies sold boot hangers to be placed around the bar and the large windows. The ladies also had a beef stew dinner and collected underwear, socks and toiletries for veterans. The ladies raised around $600 cash and $400+ in supplies. This idea kickstarted what has become the LOEA sponsored event, Lodge 1224 Camp USA Show. At this event, LOEA and lodge members display their musical, singing and acting talents for one evening, raising money for veterans. One hundred percent of the profits are presented to Bay Pines VA Center during the lodge’s yearly Veterans Day dinner. Since 2012 the show has generated over $2,000 in profit.
2012-2013 The LOEA took its wildly popular show that is always sold out, “Variety Show,” on the road for the first time. This show was presented at Bay Pines Community Living Center once in 2012 and again in 2013. The show also went to Cascades Mobile Home Park in 2013. The latter was a way to introduce the ladies and lodge to the community. The show was so successful at Cascades that the Park donated $150 to the LOEA and bought over 20 tickets to the lodge’s next event. The LOEA strives to further the interests and activities of the lodge as well as provide organized assistance in any possible way that it can. As a tradition, the LOEA President has ceremoniously given a check to the outgoing Exalted Ruler for the betterment of the lodge during the installation of new officers at the beginning of the new Elk Year.
2014-2015 The LOEA takes its successful Lodge 1224 Camp USA Show to C. W. Bill Young VA Hospital several times to entertain the veterans who are not able to attend the show held at the lodge on a yearly basis. The LOEA also visits nursing homes, taking a mixture of variety show acts to entertain the patients at these homes
2015-2016 During 2015-2016, the LOEA concentrated their efforts to remember our veterans. Among the many things they did was partnered with VAVS Deputy Representative to C. W. Bill Young VA Hospital, Johnny Miller, and other Elks to provide some gently used high-end electric powered wheelchairs to veterans from CWBYVA. Four used motorized wheelchairs valued at a total of approximately $9,560 were provided to veterans in need of mobility assistance. They also donated two 7' Christmas trees to the VA’s PRRC program, donated to Stand Down for Homelessness at CWBYVA and donated to Heaven on Earth for Veterans Inc. which provides a safe place to stay for homeless veterans. In addition, many donations of clothing and hundreds of lap blankets and hats were donated to the veterans. The ladies also continued to assist with yearly monetary donations to the Children’s Therapy Services, Harry-Anna Trust Fund, Elks National Foundation and the Florida Elks Youth Camp where additionally they also sent five children in need to FEYC for the summer of 2016.
2016-2017 The LOEA continued the support of veterans by supporting VAVS Representative to C. W. Bill Young VA Hospital, Johnny Miller, and other Elks to provide excursions for the veterans along with their annual USA Show with Bob Hope and many acts raising funds to purchase movie tickets, toiletries, dinner gift cards, fishing poles and an additional motorized wheelchair. The LOEA supported the Stand Down for Homeless Veterans and donated lap blankets, clothing and gift cards to Heaven on Earth for Veterans. The ladies also continued to assist with yearly monetary donations to the Children’s Therapy Services, Harry-Anna Trust Fund, Elks National Foundation and the Florida Elks Youth Camp where additionally they also sent five children in need to FEYC for the summer of 2017.
2017-2018 The LOEA several generous donations to the Historical Programs, checks in the amounts of $1060 and an $2000 donation to the Florida State Elks Association Historical Commemorative Projects Liaison Rudy Masi, Sr. The LOEA announces the recipient of the scholarship for this year. Her name is Kara Nickol and she is currently a senior attending Seminole High School. She has maintained a 4.0 average throughout high school years. She will be attending the University of Central Florida next year. Kara received $1000 from the LOEA.
On behalf of St. Petersburg Lodge the LOEA sent twins to attend FEYC Summer Camp, additionally the LOEA donated an additional $200 in order to purchase clothing for the kids.
2019 The Downtown Optimist Club of St. Petersburg and the Dixie Hollins Civitan’s Club served as the servers at the LOEA’s Mardi Gras party. The Optimist and Dixie Hollins Civitan Club were raising money for children with needs. The LOEA was happy that during the evening $237 was raised for this club for their service. During the month of May, the LOEA donated $500.00 to Southeastern Guide Dogs walkathon. The MacDill Puppy Raiser Group is made up of volunteers dedicated to preparing puppies for their professional training as service animals with Southeastern Guide Dog's Paws for Patriots program. These donations make a world of diﬀerence in the lives of veterans who cannot see and those who have seen too much.
Each year the LOEA participates in the Lodge special services which include the Memorial, Flag Day and Mother's Day Services.
Information was compiled from various documents, the writings of Edna Whiting, PLP 1960-1961, verbal and written information received from Joan Vignoul, PLP, LM and current Membership Chair; Cathy Shriver, PLP, LM and current Parliamentarian. New introduction, updated verbiage, additional LOEA research, documentation and closing remarks of this small accounting of the St. Petersburg LOEA History and Distinguished past was done by Maylene Graci, LOEA Historian, 2012-2013/2014-2015. Updated 2016