Collective community head-scratching as local Elks Lodge 270 hops aboard Trump train.


“The Order is a non-political, non-sectarian” … um, well … let’s start with the non-controversial part. New Albany’s Elks Lodge 270 has celebrated its 125th birthday, and that’s highly noteworthy.

The Green Mouse recently was told that Mayor Jeff Gahan has been badgering the lodge’s Ed Snelling for years, trying to buy the rights to the tag “Exalted Ruler” — but Snelling won’t budge.

Good for him. After all, Gahan already has copyrighted “Dear Leader.”

A MILESTONE OF GIVING: New Albany Elks turns 125, by Chris Morris (Chain May)

 … “The main emphasis here is we’re not just a bar. This organization gives back to the community,” New Albany Elks Club Exalted Ruler Ed Snelling said. “A lot of organizations are declining, but we buck that trend. We have an active group here.”

The New Albany Elks received its charter in 1893 and was the 270th chapter in the country to be formed. There were 54 members in 1893. Today there are 2,500 lodges in the United States and the New Albany Elks has around 350 members. Snelling said in the early 1900s the New Albany Elks had around 1,200 members, but when it burned down in 1963 the club’s membership had been in decline. It has received a recent resurgence …

In case you were wondering, here is the national Elks organizational manifesto.

We are…

A fraternal order with nearly a million members and a 141-year history.

A network of nearly 2000 lodges in communities all over the country.

A generous charitable foundation that each year gives millions in scholarships, an inspiration to youth, a friend to veterans and more.

Our Mission

To inculcate the principles of Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity; to recognize a belief in God; to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its Members; to quicken the spirit of American patriotism; to cultivate good fellowship; to perpetuate itself as a fraternal organization, and to provide for its government, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America will serve the people and communities through benevolent programs, demonstrating that Elks Care and Elks Share.


The Elks organization was founded in New York City on February 16, 1868 under the name “Jolly Corks” by 15 actors, entertainers and others associated with the theater. In ensuing years, membership expanded to other professions.


This Fraternal Order was founded “To promote and practice the four cardinal virtues of Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity; to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its members; to quicken the spirit of American Patriotism and cultivate good fellowship.”

The Order is a non-political, non-sectarian and strictly American fraternity. Proposal for membership in the Order is only by invitation of a member in good standing. To be accepted as a member, one must be an American citizen, believe in God, be of good moral character and be at least 21 years old.

What We Do

The Order spends more than $80,000,000 every year for benevolent, educational and patriotic community-minded programs in such fields as benefitting special needs children, sponsoring Elks National Foundation scholarships, scouting, athletic teams, veterans’ works, a national “Hoop Shoot” free-throw contest involving more than 3 million children, physical and occupational therapy programs and patriotic programs.

The youth of our country have always been important to the Order. It is for this reason the Elks Drug Awareness Education Program was launched to warn primary grade students and their parents of the dangers in drug use. Additionally, every lodge observes June 14th as Flag Day, a tradition which the Elks began in 1907 and was later adopted by the Congress as an official observance.

“The Order is a non-political, non-sectarian” …