HISTORY OF ELK'S LODGE #26
Kansas City Lodge No. 26 was instituted on June 8, 1884 with fifteen original members. The lodge was originally housed in the Knight of Phythias Hall at Sixth and Main Streets. They continued renting quarters with their final rental location being a little room in the New York Life Building.
In 1898 the membership considered purchasing their own building. NO FRATERNAL ORDER IN THE UNITED STATES HAD EVER ATTEMPTED SUCH A THING. Later that year, the lodge purchased an ornate building at Seventh Street and Grand Avenue. The building was known as the "Wisconsin Building". The building was originally erected by the State of Wisconsin for display at the 1893 Chicago Worlds' Fair.
After the fair, the building was purchased by J.C. Rogers, a Wamego, Kansas banker. He had the Wisconsin Building torn down, shipped to Kansas City and rebuilt in 1894. It first operated as the Wisconsin Club, then as an annex to the Midland Hotel prior to Kansas City Elks' Lodge No. 26 purchasing the building in 1898. In 1907 an addition was added to the building that included a lodge meeting room, gymnasium and swimming pool.
In 1934 Lodge No. 26 celebrated their Fiftieth Anniversary and hosted the National Convention. To insure that the thousands of visitors attending the convention could find the lodge, the Elks' painted their building a gaudy combination of yellow and green. After their Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration, and hosting the National Convention, the building was then covered with dark paint to resume it's regular "street dress" appearance.
In 1951 the lodge building was sold to the City Union Mission. The lodge then relocated to the former Charles W. Armour Mansion at 19 East Armour Boulevard. They immediately added a new addition and membership quickly increased. During 1951, a membership class was named after the most famous Elk of them all, President Harry S. Truman. Harry Truman was initiated as a member of Kansas City Lodge No. 26 in 1934.
During 1967, the lodge sold their building on Armour and moved to temporary quarters at Thirty-Sixth Street and Broadway. In January of 1968, the lodge leased space at 3937 Main Street and remained at that location for over eight years.
During 1976 the lodge made the big move to South Kansas City. They initially leased quarters at 85th Street and Holmes Road. In 1979 the lodge purchased approximately ten acres just West of Holmes Road on 99th Street. Ground Breaking Ceremonies were held on April 21, 1984 and the new 8,000 square foot lodge building was opened in December of 1984.