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As It Was: Elks Lodge Represents Beaux Arts Architecture

The Benevolent Order of Elks Lodge facing the corner of Central Avenue and Fifth Street in downtown Medford, Ore., is a good example of Beaux Arts architecture.

The three-story, white-brick building, built by R. I. Stuart in 1913, was designed by Frank C. Clark, a charter member of the Elks and the first professionally trained architect to live in the Rogue Valley.

Medford’s original 43 Elk members had received their initiation in lodges elsewhere in the United States, so they wanted to have a lodge of their own. The original building permit listed the price at $35,000.

Completed in 1915, the design included classic columns, curved steps, a clock tower crowned by a wreath-frame clock, a lodge room, ladies’ parlor, billiard rooms with acoustic ceilings and maple floors, a fireplace, and a large basement. The club added a dining room addition in 1921 and other improvements over the next 100 years.

The building represented a time when architecture, citizen organizations and gathering places were valued community assets, and it was considered the best-planned building of its kind on the coast.  The National Register of Historic Places added the building to its list in 1981.

Sources: Ness, Lydia. "Medford Elks Building." Restore Oregon, Restore Oregon, 2017, restoreoregon.org/medford-elks-buil. Accessed 10 Aug. 2017; Evans, Gail E. "Survey of and Cultural Resources City of Medford." City of Medford, Oregon-Oregon Archaeological Services, May 1982, heritagedata.prd.state.or.us/historic/index.cfm?do=main.load. Accessed 10 Aug. 2017; "BPOE Lodge #1158." My Southern Oregon History Pages-InfoStructure, edited by Tina Truwe, Mail Tribune, 1900s, id.mind.net/~truwe/tina/s.o.history.html. Accessed 10 Aug. 2017.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.