The History of B.P.O.E. #804

The growth and development of the Lodge is closely linked with the growth and development of our city. Many of the men that we recall with reverence as the founders and builders of our great Lodge, are identified with the business, political and social life of Fort Collins. The history of the Lodge is, in part, the story of our community.

Many of the early lodges in Colorado were founded in the centers of mining activity where the actors who came to entertain the miners and their families spread the word of Elkdom.

The growth of Elkdom was at its height in the two years following the institution of Boulder lodge # 566 in February 1900. A number of Fort Collins residents became members of the Boulder Lodge, commuting to the meetings by train.

It did not take long before the Fort Collins contingent began talking about organizing a Lodge of their own. There was, however, some skepticism in the Boulder area as noted in the Boulder Herald newspaper of June 25, 1902.

“The Fort Collins Elks contemplate starting a Lodge of their own in that city. A place must have a population of 5,000 before it can have a charter for a Lodge of Elks and Fort Collins believes it has that many, but the census hardly warrants that belief.”

The Fort Collins weekly Courier responded by saying “Yes, but we have grown, expanded, and stretched out, and are larger and broader, and there are more of us than when the census was taken. It wouldn’t be safe for the Herald editor to bet his job against 5,000 souls in Fort Collins.”

On June 25, 1902 there was an Elks meeting in Pueblo, which was attended by William V. Roberts, Theodore Budrow, John Gray and R.J. Andrews, citizens of Fort Collins who had joined the Elks Lodge in Boulder. At this meeting interest was aroused in establishing a Lodge in Fort Collins, which was followed by work of these members and others.

Exactly two months following the skeptical June 25 article in the Boulder Herald, the hard work of the Fort Collins contingent was culminated with the institution of the Fort Collins Lodge on July 25, 1902. The charter was issued on July 18, 1902. Forty two members had transferred from the Boulder Lodge, together with 33 members who were initiated formed Lodge #804.

The first B.P.O.E. #804 home was in Ault Hall located on the second floor of the building at 111 North College Avenue. Consensus was growing among the members that the Lodge needed a new home of its own to serve the work of the Lodge and its social activities. The financial condition of the Lodge was comfortable and the members voted to acquire a 508X90’ lot and erect a Home at the Northeast corner of Linden and Walnut Street.

On Monday, July 20, 1903 the Fort Collins Lodge laid the new cornerstone of their new home. In less than one year the Lodge, with a membership of about 260, has bought one of the finest corners in the city and erected and furnished one of the very best club housed of its kind in the country.