Frequently Asked Questions
Looking for Our Location & Contact Information?
Who Are the Elks?
Perhaps the best way to answer this is by seeing what we do. Have a look at our charities. The sense of community and connection described in Elk Advantages also discusses our diverse membership, as well as the privileges members enjoy.You may also be interested in Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam's discussion of organizations like the Elks.
Can Women Join?
Absolutely. The Ashland Lodge welcomes female members and officers. In fact, our Lodge's own Kay Englund was one of the first female Exalted Rulers (an Elks Lodge's chief officer) in Oregon. Since the year 2000, over 1 in 4 of our new members has been female.
Do You Wear Funny Hats?
New members are generally relieved (though some of us were chagrined) to learn that Elks do not wear hats with horns or antlers. Fred and his friends will have to soldier on alone.
(image copyright HannaBarbera)
Where Are You?
Have a look at contact information for our address and phone number, or to download a map to the lodge.
Do the Elks Have Specific Political & Religious Aims?
Aside from a belief in some sort of supreme being, Elks have diverse views. We focus on what we have in common, not what divides us. In fact, our guidelines specify that "It is strictly forbidden to discuss religious or political matters, or engage in any business dealings within the walls of any Elks Lodge; hence strong differences in matters of faith, party polarization and commerce are left at the threshold, focusing instead upon those beliefs all members have in common."
(What It Means to Be An Elk, 16)
What Do You Do in that Huge Building?
Our four-story Lodge is perhaps the largest non-commercial space in downtown Ashland. There’s free parking for Elks in our private lot, wireless internet access, home style cooking, and the most affordable drinks in town! You can drop in and gaze out on Grizzly Peak while sipping a glass of wine, a pint of Caldera, or just a cup of coffee.
Besides our meetings, the Lodge is used for parties and fund raisers. For example when one of our members broke his leg snowboarding, but didn’t have insurance, we promptly put together a party for him and raised over $2,500. Elks can also rent the lodge for as little as $25 an hour for wedding receptions, private parties, and events such as Ashland’s Bad Film Society, which watches terrible movies once a month in our basement.
These titles reflect our historical origins in two ways:
We are an order founded by 19th Century actors with a flair for the dramatic.
The Elks have always been an organization where social distinctions outside the lodge have little bearing on the respect we show one another. Among other things, historically these titles were a way of leveling social distinctions. For more, see historical contexts.
How Much Does It Cost to Be an Elk?
Applying for membership has a one-time application cost of $50. Besides this application cost, you pay a pro-rated portion of your first year's annual dues. (A whole year's dues would be $83.50). See Joining the Ashland Lodge for more information.
Why Are You Called Elks?
Our chief founder was Charles Vivian, a singer and recent immigrant from Britain. He wanted to imitate a English fraternity named after the (African) Buffalo, but others wanted an American animal, hence the Elks. Vivian, who had been impressed in England when he heard the novelist Charles Dickens give a speech about benevolence, did manage to get Benevolent into our title.
How Is It Different from Similar Organizations?
Fraternal organizations in the U.S. fall into three distinct types, depending on when they were founded. Those existing before the Civil War, like the Masons, drew from the well-connected. Those founded after the Civil War but before the 20th century, like the Elks, drew from many ranks of society and focused on fellowship and mutual aid. Luncheon-oriented service clubs founded in the 20th century, like Rotary, often centered on business connections. For more, see historical contexts. Besides benevolence, the Elks are known for having a good time!
Why Is the Ashland Lodge Growing?
As Ashland becomes more of an upscale tourist & retirement town, our Lodge is one of the few remaining places where different segments of our community come together on an equal footing and have fun. Male or female, financially comfortable or striving, all members are welcome. For more, see Elk Advantages.
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Last updated on 11/26/08