Oswego Elks Lodge #271 was instituted on October 31st, 1893 and received its charter in June 1894. In 2018, we will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of our lodge along with a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
Lodge numbers are assigned as new lodges are instituted, so we have the distinction of being the 271st lodge in the order. New York Lodge #1 (also known as the Jolly Corks), was the first lodge admitted into the order.
Our current building was built in 1851 for use as a private residence. This building that we are in was built in 1851 for use as a private residence and many noteworthy people have lived here throughout the years. A. B. Merriam and his wife Hannah, daughter of artist Thomas Hanford Wentworth, were the first occupants. In 1866 the residence was sold to John R. Noyes who, in 1880 sold it to Malvina Guimaraes who was related to Issac Singer, the inventor of the Singer Sewing Machine. After Malvina's death in 1882, the residence was sold to Neil Gray, a partner in the Oswego Shade Co., whose son established the Oswego Machine Works. In 1922, upon the death of Neil Gray, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks purchased the building. The Hall was added in 1961 and in the 1970s it was expanded. In 1983 the Lodge bar area was renovated and in 1990 we expanded the kitchen. Several years ago an offer was made to buy our building and the organization considered building in a new location, but we decided that we couldn't replace what we had and the history that goes with the building. With this decision made, the Lodge has been very active over the past several years updating the structure.
Oswego Lodge #271 has over 800 members and is one of the 6 Lodges in the Ontario District #6300; the other Lodges are Syracuse #31, Auburn #474, Fulton #830, Liverpool #2348, and Camillus #2367. There are 17 Districts in New York comprised of 150 Lodges and 85,000 members.