Medford Elks, Medford

Elks Lodge

Elks Lodge

Year Built: 1915
Location: Medford, Oregon

The building was constructed in 1915 for the Benevolent Order of Elks No. 1168 in downtown Meford and has been in continuous ownership by the Elks since then. The Survey of Historic and Cultural Resources Downtown Survey in 1994-95 quotes the National Register Nomination describing the Elks Lodge “as the most distinctive example of monumental architecture in the tradition of Beaux Arts Classicism in Medford’s Downtown core.” Changing times and dwindling membership have left the Elks Lodge vacant and deteriorating, and the organization is hoping to sell it to someone who will restore its elegance and find a viable use for the building.

The Medford Elks Building was designed by leading local architect Frank C. Clark, who was himself a charter member of the lodge organized in 1909. It is a contributing building in the City’s Downtown Historic District and was listed on the National Register in 1981. An addition was constructed onto the building in 1921 complimenting its design. The National Register nomination states that the “Medford Elks Lodge BPOE has additional local significance not only for its important association with the Fraternal Order of Elks, but as the sole remnant of the once imposing triumvirate of corner-facing classical inspired structures that formed the political and social hub in Medford prior to World World II.”

Medford’s downtown has come to life in recent years with new businesses and investments occurring. The building and property is situated on a main corridor and has easy access to a new downtown park.The Elks Building is one-of-a-kind for Medford and for the state. Its ownership and use over the past hundred years dedicated to the Elks organization alone is unique and noteworthy. It represents a time when architecture, citizen organizations, gathering places, and a community having a sense of place were important.

Threats

Changing times and dwindling membership have left the Elks Lodge vacant and deteriorating threatening its viable future. Birds have made their way into the building causing damage. Without funding available to maintain the building and provide upgrades, the building will continue to deteriorate making it more difficult and expensive to save in the long term. The organization is hoping to sell it to someone who will restore the building and put it to a new use.  The City, too, views this as an opportunity to advance downtown Medford’s renaissance.

Progress

November 2016

Listed as one of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places

This project was funded in part by the Oregon Cultural Trust and Kinsman foundation

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Statewide Partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation