HISTORY OF RAVENNA LODGE #1076
About 1900, many of the young men in Ravenna wished to found an Elks Lodge of their own. Grand Lodge rules prohibited the establishment of lodges in towns with less than 5,000 population. Unable to found their own Lodge, a number of men joined lodges in other cities.
All these men brought back tales of the fine times they had in Cleveland and Warren lodges, and this increased the desire for a Ravenna Lodge. In 1907 the population demands of the Grand Lodge were met when Ravenna was officially declared a city.
Dispensation for a charter for an Elks Lodge was granted by the Grand Lodge on May 23, 1907. The application was signed by A. W. Stocker, A.S. Cole (a Past Exalted Ruler of Warren Lodge #295-1903 - and Exalted Ruler of Ravenna in 1915), F. C. Richardson and five others. Henry A. Melvin was the Grand Exalted Ruler.
The charter for a Lodge was granted on June 14, 1907. Fred Robinson was the Grand Secretary and John K. Tener, Charleroi, Pa., was the Grand Exalted Ruler. The signers of the charter were: Willis J. Beckley, George Waggoner, L. J. Goddard, George H. Robinson, Kelsey E. Wing (Secretary of Ravenna Lodge from 1907 through 1918), A. W. Stocker and J. C. McManus.
Organization and lnstallation was completed in the summer of 1907. Because of the Ravenna men already in the Warren Lodge it was felt proper that that Lodge conduct the installation. A large delegation came over from Warren for the ceremonies. They brought with them the necessary paraphernalia, including a large goat and a young kid.
They were met at the Erie Railroad station at 12:05 P.M. by the prospective members, as well as by the Ravenna band. A parade was formed. A Warren member and the goat led the parade. Louis Schweitzer, father of Karl, followed, carrying the kid. The old goat represented the older Warren Lodge, and the kid the lodge about to be formed. The prospective members followed, led by the Ravenna band.
The parade proceeded up Cleveland Road to Highland Avenue, east on Highland to Walnut Street, South on Walnut to Main Street and down Main Street, which had been gaily decorated with both American flags and Elks banners. The parade stopped at the old Sontum Block, 250 West Main Street on the North side of the street (old Skorman building), which was to house Lodge #1076.
lnstallation took place, followed by the initiation of a group of candidates. There was an adjournment for a social session until 6:00 P.M. when a second and final group of candidates were initiated. At 8:00 P.M. the meeting was adjourned for a banquet at the Etna House.
In the list of charter members, the name of Louis Schweitzer does not appear. Louis was a tavern keeper and the Grand Lodge had a rule prohibiting membership to tavern keepers. Louis, already a member, never transferred to Ravenna.
The 1st and 3rd Friday nights were established as meeting nights. The Elks moved from the Sontum Building and had their 1st meeting in Riddle Block 7 on March 3, 1908. Willis J. Beckley was Exalted Ruler the first two years.
Talk of a building for the Elks Lodge began in 1929 when R. L. Hendee was Exalted Ruler. At the April 19, 1930 meeting conducted by Harry J. Gentholtz, a resolution was made by W. O. Davis to have a special fund created and named the Ravenna Lodge Building Fund with a deposit of $10,000. ln charge of this fund was Exalted Ruler Gentholtz and secretary Luikart and the Trustees. ln 1929-1930-1931 several were elected to the building fund. These included H. Warner Riddle, J. A. Crowley, W. O. Davis, A. E. Hodge, B. B. Allen, C. R. Francies, R. A. Fitzgerald. At the December 19, 1930 meeting the committee was increased by the addition of L. L. Baldwin, P. W. Jones and H. R. Loomis. At the May 1, 1931 meeting, with Edgar W. Maurer as Exalted Ruler, L. L. Baldwin moved the Lodge authorize the committee to make an offer to the Riddle Estate for the property at 160 East Main street. The purchase was made May 19, 1931. The House Committee was J. L. Slates, C. L. Harper, R. A. Fitzgerald, A. E. Hodge and H. S. Luikart.
Ever since 1931 there was talk of remodeling, adding a bowling alley or rebuilding. ln 1963, committees were instructed to work on the construction of a new building and were instructed to look at prospective sites. After consideration, the Trustees and the committees chose to remain at the present location.
ln April 1964, the trustees were given authority to sign contracts regarding a new building. Official approval had been received from the Grand Lodge.
On February 1, 1965 members gave unanimous approval to construct a new lodge home on the E. Main Street site. Hugh Riddle offered us temporary quarters at the old Elks home, 120 North Chestnut Street, and in the middle of March we moved. Seven months later we moved to the new building and the dedication occurred on November 6, 1965.
The Exalted Ruler was Vincent F. Maimone. The general chairman was PER Herman E. Tudor. Others on the various committees were:
John E. Davison PER, Albert D. Reese PER, Herb Kane, Ray Miller, Nelson Lozier, B. B. Allen, Harry Rigby, Morris Evans, Edwin Jones, Glenn C. Rutan PER, Bob Brown PER, Dwayne Haiflich PER, Joseph G. Brode PER, Charles L. Vickers PER, Ora Earlywine, Dan Hearrell, and Hugh Riddle.
In 2007, the 100th year of the Ravenna Elks, a proposal was submitted by JND Properties to purchase the E. Main Street building in order to build a Walgreen’s pharmacy on the site. On August 1st, a ground-breaking ceremony was held and construction began on a new 10,000 square foot Lodge building located at 776 North Freedom Street.
The Club’s Building Committee, headed by Willie Sweet, was placed in charge of design, construction, and moving into the new lodge building. In April of 2008, the Ravenna Elks #1076 moved into their new home, one of the largest Elks Lodges in Ohio. There is enough room for over 100 people in the club room and the banquet hall can hold gatherings of 250. Paul Worley, John Green, and Dick Wetzel served as Exalted Rulers during the construction period.