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The Dalles former Elks Lodge (#0251)

The Dalles former Elks Lodge (#0251)
The elaborate Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) lodge and residence of The Dalles, built in 1910. I had always assumed that the BPOE primarily provided something akin to a ‘club’ where members could socialize, dine (and drink), and possibly engage in other recreational activities, but were not residences; per a sign at this one, it appears this also operated as something similar to a boarding house. Per various sources (including Wikipedia), until the 1970’s the Elks was a fraternal order for white males; in the 1970’s they lost the ability to exclude non-whites after racial discrimination suits, in the 90’s they began to admit women. The building is no longer used by the BPOE.

The seeming misfit of the current town with the detail of architecture and the size of structures such as this is a reminder, for me, of significant changes in the organization of American society. For much of the 20th century, when cities such as The Dalles were key and unique parts of the American economic, social, and political fabric, a structure of this scale would have seemed perfectly appropriate. However, with the population and economic shifts in the later 20th and early 21st centuries, such buildings now seem oddly grandiose in towns that are increasingly primarily way-stations on the way to ‘real’ life in the major urban cores.

Nocolos42 has particularly liked this photo


Comments
Nocolos42
Nocolos42
Thanks very much for the background, insight. I was taking a constitutional law course in the 70s and had that case for a legal brief assignment.
5 months ago. Edited 5 months ago.
Don Barrett (aka DBs… has replied to Nocolos42
I should have noted with my description (I've since changed it), that I didn't know that detail about the Elks until looking it up. I've personally had a long history of a very negative view towards most of the fraternal organizations. That was, admittedly, based on limited evidence of the 'old boy' behavior of the Shriners on the streets when I was a teen in the 60's.
5 months ago.
slgwv
slgwv
As I've commented before, I also think that transportation and (especially) communications technology played a major role. The fraternal organizations were about the only social outlet before TV and the Internet! In many small towns, even after Repeal, they were also the only place you could (legally) get a drink.

And a further thought: another hit was when video rentals started to become common in the early 80s. You weren't stuck with whatever network TV happened to make it to those burgs!
5 months ago. Edited 5 months ago.
Don Barrett (aka DBs… has replied to slgwv
You're right, and I need to find a way to incorporate into my discussion on these issues the changes in social patterns that happened with the post-war housing and consumer revolutions.
5 months ago.