Updated: Mar 10
By Cathy Slade
The Boston Lodge of Elks had its home in Roslindale at 32 South Fairview Street by the MBTA Railroad Bridge in Roslindale Village, after moving from the original location at 619 Washington Street, now home to the Ritz Carlton.
Roslindale was the home of the Boston Lodge of Elks #10, which moved there from a location in downtown Boston. As noted by its name, it was the 10th lodge that was established in the United States. The Lodge was located at 32 South Fairview Street, by the corner of Robert Street, just outside of Roslindale’s central shopping center.
The Elks was a fraternal membership organization that hosted numerous events for members and their guests. These included monthly dances for adults, summer barbecues, holiday parties for their children. They offered their hall for use by community groups to hold meetings free of charge. Club members conducted free Thanksgiving and Easter parties for Senior citizens, cooked by club members, and delivered meals to those who requested participation, but could not physically attend. It was also an organization that contributed abundantly to the vitality of Roslindale by hosting meetings and activities for local community groups.
One special contribution was hosting military and veteran organizations that participated in the Annual Roslindale Day Parade. Every parade that these groups marched in were required to feed the service member organizations. The Elks did their part in hosting and feeding the groups, helping to defray the cost of the Parade Committee. The Elks always provided a bountiful hot and cold buffet dinner to the groups. Members offered the hall to organizers and volunteers of the parade.
The organization played such a valuable role in the life of the community, that they were missed by many when the club needed more space to accommodate an increase in membership, and to continue their service to the communities of Roslindale and West Roxbury. The Elks Club built a new building at One Morrell Street, West Roxbury, and moved in 1997.
Of Special Note:
When the Elks Lodge was situated in Boston, President John F. Kennedy was a member. His number was 13,300. In 1961, the first year that he served as President, he was elected to Honorary Life Membership. A Lodge of Sorrows was held for him there November 22, 1963, the date of his assassination.