Olympia Elks Lodge History

Elkdom in Olympia, Washington began as Capitol Lodge #186; installing Judge T. N. Allen as the first Exalted Ruler on New Year's Eve 1891. The membershipwas made up mostly of state officials with a sprinkling of Olympia businessmen.When a change of administration came in 1898, many of the members lost their jobs, some went away to the Spanish - American War and others to the lure of gold in the Klondike. This caused such a slump in membership that the charter was surrendered before the end of the 1897 - 98 Lodge year.

The spirit of Elkdom never left Olympia and by 1903 Olympia was ready for the organization of Olympia B.P.O.E. #186. Grand Lodge had been so sure that Olympia B.P.O.E. would reorganize they had saved our original number, #186, for us.

The present lodge, #186, which retained the old number, was instituted June 20, 1903, five years after the surrender of the Charter by Capital Lodge #186. G. C. Winstanley was installed as Exalted Ruler that same night by a vote of the charter membership. Throughout the years, the Olympia Lodge #186 has had its high and its lows. In the mid 1960's, we boasted a membership of nearly 2,400 members. As society changed and family interests changed, membership declined.
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