HISTORY OF HANOVER LODGE NO.
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
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 AND OFFICERS
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.
FIRST HOME IS PURCHASED
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
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.
GROWING NEED BRINGS ACTION
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
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
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,
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.
LANDSCAPING AND DECORATING BEGUN AND
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
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.
ELK IS PURCHASED AND DEDICATED
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.
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.
ADDITION AND INTERIOR IMPROVEMENTS TO LODGE HOME
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
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
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
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
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 EXPANDED
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
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.
PAST GRAND LODGE, STATE AND DISTRICT OFFICERS HONORED
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
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.