History From 1900 to 1960
The Reno Elks Lodge of the B.P.O.E. Was chartered as Lodge No. 597 on June 30, 1900 and was installed by D.D.G.E.R. F.L. Gray and officers of the Sacramento, Nevada City and Grass Valley Lodges. The Charter list of the Reno Lodge consisted of 45 men who were "among the best citizens of the State of Nevada". (Reno Gazette, July 1, 1900).
From its chartering in 1900 until the completion of the "Reno Elks Home" in April of 1904, the Lodge met in the "Investment Hall". On April 23, 1904, the Lodge dedicated its new home at 50 North Sierra Street, (across the street from the former Century Riverside Movie Theater), at which it resided for 53 years.
During the early years, the Reno Lodge was Nevada's only Lodge and included Elks from the mining camps of Tonopah and Goldfield. During the year of 1907, the Tonopah and Goldfield Elks formed their own lodges because it was becoming too difficult to travel 300 miles to Reno Lodge meetings and Elk events.
The Reno Lodge was very active in Elkdom during its first 60 years. The Reno Elks Home was a social center of the community and the Elks performed many, many acts of charity in and around Reno. The first "Uncle Dan" night was hosted by "Uncle Dan" Wheeler himself on December 19, 1909. This dinner, which is the primary way by which the Reno Elks raise money for their charitable activities, has been held every year since during or just before the holidays.
During the years between 1904 and 1957, the Reno Elks Home was flooded twice by the Truckee River and survived a small fire. On February 5, 1957, however, the luck of the building ran out and the Reno Elks Home was destroyed by a disastrous explosion and fire. J.C., (Cliff), Kumle, Secretary and Manager of the Reno Elks at the time, was credited with adverting further tragedy by promptly evacuating 74 members from the lunch and card rooms. Only minor injuries were reported.
From March of 1957 until the current lodge was completed in 1961, the Reno Elks Lodge met at the historic Mapes Hotel and the former Holiday Hotel Casino, (now the Sienna), in downtown Reno.
First Order Nevada Elks B.P.O.
Reno Elks Lodge by the Truckee River, August 26, 1908