About Us     

Welcome to the website of our Highland, IN, Elks Lodge No. 981.  It's possible that some of you might not be familiar with the 143 year old National Order of which we are a duly chartered Lodge, so we'll give you a thumbnail sketch of the truly American heritage we now share with our Hoosier Highland neighbors.

About 3 years after the Civil War ended, a band of New York performers, whose travels had taken time across the length and breadth of the continent to see first hand the painful scars that still lingered on the hearts and homes of their countrymen, joined in a solemn oath.  Desiring to bring both a reawakening of humanitarianism and a return of a unified American spirit, two dozen men formed the first Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks on February 16, 1868, and undertook a journey of service to mankind that continues to the present , growing to over 2,000 lodges nationwide with over a million proud American members.  In response to train wrecks, floods, droughts, tornado's and earthquakes, our members have rendered aid to those in distress without hesitation.  Our love of country inspired us to build and donate to the Government the first Veterans Rehabilitation hospital, fund the first GI Bill, guide America's children in a fund raising drive to rebuild the USS Constitution, complete the building of the Washington Monument, raised 1.5 million dollars to restore the Statue of Liberty as well as helping in the creation of the World War II Memorial now standing near Washington's Reflecting Pool.

Five U.S Presidents, as well as tens of thousands of Senators, Congressmen, Judges, Governors, Mayors, industrialists and show business personalities have filled our ranks up to the present.  Our greatest pride draws from the vast majority of our members.  Hard working men and women who besides raising their own families, give their time and resources to provide scholarships and activities for youngsters, assist in food and clothing drives, bring cheer to our hospitalized Veterans and support other worthy causes in the communities we call home.

Now, as to the Highland Elks Lodge No. 981, our story began 37.5 years after the Order's inception, and a little north of our present location, when 20 East Chicago civic and business leaders (some of whom were already members of the Elks in Hammond), after learning of the noble mission and benefits of bringing Elkdom into other major cities, joined together to be chartered and Lodge No. 981 was born and opened on August 5, 1905.  Through the following years and especially after completion of its three story Lodge building in 1926, their numbers grew largely do to admiration of their charitable endeavors such as donations of iron lungs to local hospitals during the Polio epidemics, food basket and clothing drives of the Depression, fund raising for schools and civic improvements, war bond rallies and fund raising for Cancer research (an Indiana Elks major project started by Lodge 981 in 1946).  Two Presidents plus many lesser dignitaries were feted grandly in the Lodge's massive ballroom on their local travels.  At its peak the membership hovered around 1,000 of Lake County's finest citizens and its renown spread throughout Indiana and Chicago.

Northwest Indiana was having a growth spurt and the areas to the South were burgeoning into numerous towns whose "suburban" appeal of large pieces of land and fresh air inspired many East Chicago Elks to relocate and the active membership subsequently declined until the massive three story buildings upkeep couldn't be maintained under dwindling participation.  In 1990 the remaining members accepted an offer to sell and began a search for a new location where both its former members and new citizens could more easily join together for our humanitarianism and social purposes, temporarily holding meetings at Obie's restaurant and the Social Center at Wicker Park.  Well over a dozen potential lodge sites were considered and rejected in the 4 "homeless years", until we learned of the availability of the former Prompt Medical Clinic on 45th Street and acquired the property.  The renovation began immediately and was completed in 1995 as a splendid venue for the 90th Anniversary celebration of our founding.  From a relocated membership of under 100, the wisdom of our choice of a new hometown in Highland has been amply demonstrated by the growth of the Lodge's membership to over 400 of the town's best citizens all dedicated to showing our neighbors by our actions all year long that ELKS CARE - ELKS SHARE!

Michael Kelly, PSP