Hanover Elks Lodge #763

Elks Facts
Ladies Auxiliary
Lodge Websites



    Hanover Lodge has had a long and outstanding history or achievements.  It was at the turn of the century that interest in forming an Elks Club in Hanover developed among a small group of members of the Arcadian Club, Hanover’s oldest social organization.  That club had facilities but only served food and refreshments on special occasions. 

For that reason, interest in starting an Elks Club here took on increased impetus until finally a decision was reached to have Henry S. Ehrhart, Robert L. Ehrhart, George N. Gitt and J. Clair Slagle, all of whom were members of Chambersburg Lodge No. 600, sponsor an Elks Club in Hanover.

     An application was presented to the Grand Lodge and, on February 4, 1902, a dispensation was granted by Grand Exalted Ruler C. E. Pickett providing for Hanover Lodge No. 763.  The institution of the Lodge followed on May 7, 1902 at a session held in the Knights of Pythias Hall on Baltimore Street across from the home just vacated

The institution was conducted by Brother Thomas Scott, District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler, who was assisted by members of York Lodge, No. 213. 


    Charter members of the Lodge, all prominent and well known citizens were Dr. Fayette H. Beard, George H. Bonte, Thomas M. Brown, Attorney F. Chrostwaite, Charles J. Delone, Jacob P. Delone, James Findlayk, Jr.,  Julius W. Fischer, J. Gordon  Fischer, Harry N. Gitt, George D. Hopkins, Aaron Hostetter, George T. Kerr, Augustus H. Melhorn,, Clinton N. Myers, Harry C. Naill, David McG. Newcomer, Thomas J. O’Neill, Joseph B. Renaut, Frank R. Rodgers, Joseph H. Schmuck, W. Edward Shaffer, John S. Sheely, George H. Shirk, Charles F. Smith, Sharon E. Smith, Charles W. Steffy, Maurice N. Trone, Frederick W. Weber, and Robert O. Wirt.

First officers were elected and appointed at the institution and were installed by Past Grand Exalted Ruler Meade D. Detweiler.  These officers were:  Charles J. Delone, Exalted Ruler, Thomas J. O’Neill, Esteemed Leading Knight; George D. Hopkins, Esteemed Lecturing Knight;  Harry C. Naill, Secretary;  Julius W. Fischer, Treasurer; Charles W. Steffy, Tiler;  George T. Kerr, Trustee - One Year; Augustus H. Melhorn, Trustee - Two Years; George H. Shirk, Trustee - Three Years; John A. Sheely, Esquire;  Frank R. Rodgers, Inner Guard;  W. Edward Shaffer, Chaplain; Sharon E. Smith, Organist. 


    From April 1902 to April 1903 the Lodge occupied the rooms of the G.A.R. above the First National Bank.

The project of securing a permanent home was considered on April 23, 1902, when it was decided to take a six months’ option on the Welsh property, 19 Baltimore Street, said option to be exercised as soon as the membership had grown to seventy-five.  The required number of members was reached on August 13, 1902, and the trustees thereupon moved promptly to purchase the Welsh property for $14,000 and executing a mortgage for the full amount. Remodeling & furnishing began immediately.

The first session was held in that home on March 15, 1903 and the formal dedication took place on April 28 following.  This home down through the years was the second of numerous notable and largely attended social activities.  Including many formal and semi-formal events.  Memories of those enjoyable occasions still linger in the minds of quite a few of the Brothers, especially the older ones in point of membership. 


    The 50th anniversary of the institution of the Lodge was marked with appropriate festivities from March 4 to 7, 1952.  The Lodge was honored by a visit from Grand Exalted Ruler Howard W. Davis, Williamsport, Pa., who delivered an address and otherwise participated in the evening’s activities.  Other Grand Lodge officers as well as officers of the State Association also took part in the celebration.

The Golden Jubilee Committee, which arranged the observance, was headed by Brother  Clyde H. Zartman, Sr., who at the time was District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler.  Other members of the committee were:  Brothers William A. Frock, Harold O. Price, Richard B. Alleman, C. Homer Meredith, Charles E. Wentz, William J. Klunk, W. Cyril Smith and Raymond A. Harding. 


    It had been felt for some time that the old home had served its purpose, that it was outmoded and that if Hanover Lodge was to grow and prosper, the membership sooner or later would have to consider securing a more modern structure with better facilities to provide for its activities and on a site that included a sizable parking lot.  This need became more and more evident each succeeding year with the result that shortly after Brother Robert J. Meredith had taken office as exalted ruler in 1961, he called a special meeting of the lodge to discuss and act upon the matter.

After considerable debate at a meeting , it was decided to take the initial steps  towards building a new home and a planning committee was appointed.  This committee was consisted of Brothers Robert J. Rouzer, chairman; Dr. Marl L. Redding, Robert L. Alwood, Richard H. Dell and Attorney Jesse Crabbs, the latter to serve as legal advisor.

The lot owned by the Lodge on the west side of Baltimore Street, near Middle Street, was at first considered and Architect Harold E. Little, a member of the Lodge was employed to draw up plans.  This was done but objections developed against building on the Baltimore Street plot due to its limited size and lack of sufficient parking facilities.  The Lodge subsequently rejected the submitted plans and bids and the committee was instructed to seek a more appropriate site.  Six locations were considered, the Forney Avenue plot finally being decided upon.  It was purchased for $10,000 during the succeeding administration of Brother Robert J. Alwood as exalted ruler.

Architect Little then was instructed  to draw  plans and specifications for a building  to be erected on this newly-acquired site.  These plans, after careful consideration, finally were adopted.  Contracts then were let and ground was broken at exercises held on Sunday afternoon, May 5, 1963, during the early part of the regime of Brother George L. Rice, who had succeeded to the office of Exalted Ruler.   


    The construction and occupancy of our present structure marks another mile-stone  in the history of Hanover Lodge No. 763.  The one story building of brick and concrete block  construction was erected at a cost of approximately $130,000.

The Lodge moved from its former home at 19 Baltimore Street, which it occupied  for more than 60 years, to its new quarters on Forney Avenue on Saturday, January 25, 1964.

Further growth of our property came about when the membership decided to buy the plot of ground to the north of and adjacent to our present location.  This lot, with an  approximate 160’ frontage on Forney Avenue and a 400 depth was purchased in January of 1965 at a cost of $6,000 and earmarked for future expansion of our facilities.


    Much work, such as landscaping and decoration on the interior of the home still remained to be done.  The landscaping had been accomplished by monies donated from the Abba-Dabba-Do Fund.  This fund was founded by donations from Brothers and their wives who stopped by the Lodge on Sunday mornings.

Brother Ken Reber, with the help of the Ladies Auxiliary, decorated the grill room and remodeled the bar during 1966, when called upon to do so by Exalted Ruler Richard Walker Brother Reber also designed the cold air divider with planter that now stand in the grill room.

Exalted Ruler Robert J. Cashman named Brother Holman Leese, chairman;  Brother Grover Hansford, co-chairman, and Brother Bob Krise, Ed Sneeringer and Jim Keagy as a committee to decorate the ballroom.  This project, begun in 1967, was completed in 1969.

Andrea Miller, daughter of Brother Robert J. Miller, painted the murals that appeared in the ballroom.  Old landmarks of the Hanover area are among those scenes chosen by Brother Leese.  They are the City Hotel that stands on the corner of the square and Frederick Street, the Hanover-McSherrystown trolley depicted at the Forest Park area on Baltimore Street; the Camel Back Bridge that still stands near McSherrystown Fish and Game Association in Hanover R.D. 1, and the bandshell and water fountain that once stood in Wirt  Park on High Street.

New kitchen fixtures were bought and the kitchen was remodeled to $30,000 during the tenure of Exalted Ruler Leonard C. Hicks in 1970.  This was done to better accommodate our growing membership. 


    It had been  the feeling  of the Brothers, for sometime, that a statue of the emblem of our great Order be placed in the front yard of our home, Exalted Ruler Reuel Zinn, therefore, named P.E.R. Robert J. Cashman, chairman and P.E.R. William J. Overbaugh, co-chairman of a committee to study this project.  A 6-foot Elk made  of fiberglass with a natural 12 point rack was located by Brother Cashman for the sum of $375.  The Elk was purchased with donations received from the Brothers and widows of our departed Brothers.  The statue was placed on a cement and brick base by the flag  pole along the south entrance to our Lodge.  Services were held on May 30, 1969 at which time the Elk was dedicated to the memory of our departed Brothers.  Past State President A. Lewis Heisy was the principal speaker at this ceremony with remarks given by Past State President William Kuhn.  Appropriate bronze plaques have been added  to the base of this handsome statue.


    The 75th anniversary of Hanover Lodge was held from February 24th through February 27th, 1977.  Grand Exalted Ruler George B. Klein attended the Past Exalted Rulers night on the 24th.  He was also guest of honor and gave an address at our formal Anniversary Dinner-Dance on the 25th.  Other honored guests for this occasion were Grand  Trustee A. Lewis Heisey, State President Earl J. Case and The Honorable E. Gene Fournace, Past Grand Exalted Ruler.  An Anniversary Dance was held for Lodge members and guests Saturday evening the 26th, and an Open House to end the festivities on Sunday the 27th . 

The committee arranging  the celebration consisted of Lloyd D. Yost, Jr., DDGER, Chairman; William J. Overbaugh, PER, Co-chairman; George W. Swartz, PDDGER; Robert J. Meredith, PER; Clair L. George, PER;  Harry W. Niehoff, Exalted Ruler; Paul  M. Lehigh, Leading Knight, and Robert L. Baadte, Loyal Knight.

The Ladies Entertainment Committee was comprised of Norma Yost, Chairman; Dorothy Swartz, Hazel Lehigh, Peggy Baadte, Rose Gerrick, Janice Tananis, Pat Lehigh, Donna Lehman, Lena Cromer, Teenie Swartz and Jean George. 


     In September 1987 a $55,000 loan was approved and in the spring of 1988 construction began on an addition to the building to accommodate a new dining room, pool room and storage area.

In February 1998, the Centennial committee started preparation for our 100th anniversary.  It wasn’t long afterwards that we started looking around and saw things in the Lodge that badly needed repairing.  Knowing that this would be a major undertaking, we began to discuss how to finance such a task.

In 1999, the Youth Activities committee donated funds & contracted Blouse Awning Shoppe to construct a Banquet Entrance Canopy.



    Ever since its institution, Hanover Lodge has maintained an enviable and noteworthy record of good deeds performed for the welfare of the needy and the betterment of the community.  Acts of both charitable and civic assistance have been legion.  The Lodge has generously contributed to the Hanover General Hospital, the Hanover Public Library, the Red Cross, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, the Y.W.C.A. and other institutions and organizations.  Many have been the needy families who have been provided food, clothing, coal and other items.

The Hanover Elks in 1946 purchased five and one-half acres of land on Filbert Street, and in memory of Brother Ellis Clark Myers, S 2/C, who lost his life in the Coral Sea engagement of World War II, this plat was conveyed to the Borough of Hanover for use in providing recreational facilities to the public.  In 1963, the Lodge consented to the erection of an elementary public school on the site providing that the school be named in honor of our late heroic Brother Myers and that a public playgrounds continues to be maintained there.

Another outstanding act was the contribution in 1947 of the sum of $5,000 to the Hanover School District to be used for the establishment and maintenance of facilities for it's physical and recreational program.

More recently, the Members of No. 763 have been active in the fight against Cerebral Palsy.  Monies collected from Hanover and other Lodges in the South Central District of Elks provided, for a number of years, a mobile unit to our area to dispense treatment to those affected with this affliction.  A permanent Cerebral Palsy clinic, located on Broadway, was opened in Hanover in April of 1976.  Since then our Lodge has played an active role in helping to defray the many costs pertaining to the operation of this clinic.


    The first suggestion came from Linda Gebhart.  Her idea was to accept donations from the membership to replace the tile in the dining area.  So the collection began.  After this job was completed, an anonymous donor came forward with a $1,000.00 donation to do the rest of the Lodge.  With this donation and a large effort from the Lodge officers and volunteers, we replaced or cleaned all the tiles in the Lodge.

That left only our ballroom in need of a facelift.  Then Exalted Ruler Ralph Rebert suggested to Ladies Auxiliary President Linda Gebhart that their donation be used for that purpose.  The Ladies Auxiliary donated $7.000.00 with the stipulation that it be used to replace the Lodge Officers Ceremonial Jewels and for the Ballroom renovation.  Also, District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler Leon Smith donated a large sum for new lights in the ballroom.  This part of the renovation project was completed in July 2001.


    Youth activities began to expand during the 1950's when Hanover Lodge encouraged students from Hanover, Delone and South Western high schools to participate in the Elks statewide Youth Day.  This activity gives local students the opportunity to meet their fellow students at historical and governmental sites through-out our state of Pennsylvania.

Youth activities continued to grow during the 1960's when the Lodge voted to sponsor a Youth Golf Tournament.  This tournament is open to all youth and is held during the month of June at either the Hanover Country Club or South Hills golf course.  The winners of this event then compete on the state level in July.  Little league baseball also was added to the youth program during this era.

The 1970's opened as Hanover Lodge began to sponsor a little league football team.  The Youth Hoop Shoot competition was further added to round-out the Elk sponsored sports activities open for all youth.

Scouting also became an important part of our Youth Activity in this decade when the Lodge incorporated the Eagle Scout program.  This program acknowledges all Scouts of the Conewago District.  A 18" x 11 1/2" American flag and a plague are presented to each Eagle Scout during the annual District Scout Show held in February.  A Boy Scout troop is now in the process of being formed by our Lodge.

Education also has an integral part in the Youth Activities of Hanover Lodge.  Each month a teen-age boy and girl are chosen from our area schools as Student of the Month.  These students, with their parents, are guests at the monthly Lodge Birthday Dinner at which time they are presented with an appropriate certificate and a desk set.  Student of the Year awards, for both boy and girl, are presented at the March Birthday Dinner.  These awards include a certificate and a $25 Savings Bond.

A Scholarship-Leadership program has been a highlight of Elk Youth Activities for several decades.  This program annually determines an outstanding young man and young woman from our area and is open only to high school seniors.  These young adults are chosen on basis of their character and school transcripts.  Locally, they are awarded a $100 Savings Bond and have the opportunity to receive a scholarship ranging from $400 to $15,000 awarded by the State Elks Association and the B. P. O. E. National Foundation.  These scholars are chosen by a committee named by the Exalted Ruler with the assistance of the Hanover, Delone, South Western, New Oxford, Littlestown and Spring Grove high schools.


    Hanover Lodge is proud of the high honors conferred upon a number of its past officers.  Seven of them have served as District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler.  They are:  Harold B. Radisill, 1936-1937; Clyde H. Zartman, Sr., 1951-1952, George W. Swartz, 1962-1963; Lloyd D. Yost, 1976-1977; Paul M. "Pete" Lehigh, 1990-1991; Leon C. Smith, 2001-2002; and Glenn E. Foster 2013-2014 and again in 2014-2015.

Five past officers also served as president of the South Central District.  They include Brothers Raymond A. Harding, 1943-1944; Richard H. Dell, 1956-1957; Richard H. Walker, 1972-1973; Paul M. "Pete" Lehigh, 1988-1989; and Robert L. Rutters, 1996-1997.

Robert L. Rutters also served as the State Chaplain during 1996-1997.

Paul M. "Pete" Lehigh also served as the State Treasurer during 2006-2007.

In 2010, Glenn E. Foster, was awarded the National Drug Awareness Program Chairman of the Year.

In 2012-2013, Glenn E. Foster served as District State Vice President.

In 2017, Glenn E. Foster, was installed as the Pennsylvania Elks State President. This distinguished honor is a first for any Hanover Elks #763 member.

Jackie W. Barlow, II is currently serving as the State Chaplain during 2017-2018.

Doors Open
On March 7, 1902 our Lodge received its Charter from the Grand Lodge.
100 Years
On March 7, 2002 our Lodge turned 100 years old.  We are still committed to Elkdom.

Copyright 2016
B.P.O.E. Hanover Lodge #763
All rights reserved