The Kenton Elks lodge #157 is heading into the 130th year of operation in 2020, it’s important for us to look back into our rich history and explore what the Elks and its members have accomplished. In this weekly series, you will get to know the personal side of the lodge and how its members have made a lasting impression on the 157 as it stands today. We will follow the journey of a 107 year old Elks Head, discover the connection that Kenton and the lodge has to professional baseball, meet the members who have forever changed the look of our lodge, and chronicle how the lodge has been recognized at the national level with our ritual team and other special awards; just to name a few. If you have a story to tell or want to learn more about our lodge please reach out to editor@KentonElks157.com.
Headed For A Journey
Taking a trip to Detroit in 2019 is not all that big of deal but for Derastus J. Grindell in 1911 there was no easy way to travel. Coming off a summer of what has come to be known as the “Heat Wave That Drove People Insane” and without the ability to turn on an air conditioner, Grindell was in for a rough late August day. He had not been feeling all that well for the last couple months, even though he submitted to many operations, but he doesn’t want to miss the National Moose Convention in Detroit. Former President Roosevelt is expected to attend along with a spectacular program of vaudeville entertainment and vendors from as far away as Los Angeles, California. This is where Grindell gets excited when he comes across several humongous Elk Heads on display at a vendor from Minnesota. The massive antlers on one of them measure fifty-four inches across from tip to top, Grindell knew that this is a mighty impressive span, so he must have it. Grindell is a Kenton Elks 157 lodge member and he has the most wonderful idea, present it to the lodge. This Elks head will not only make the long journey back with him to Kenton, but it will take a 107-year course through Kenton Elks history.
Kenton in 1911 is a small town but big in many ways. The Big Four Depot has a constant flow of train traffic, the Champion Iron Company is producing fences, light houses structures, county jails, and ornamental iron works for all the United States, and the Kenton Hardware Company has a very popular cast iron toy business. The Kenton Elks Lodge, up to now, had seen many different homes from when first chartered. Starting in 1890 at the Letson building for about 5 years before making the move to the Munson Building and Military Hall. From there the Elks moved to the Palucci building on West Columbus Street. It wasn’t until a year ago, 1910, that the home of Joseph Timmons, the first Exalted Ruler of the Kenton lodge, was purchased for $7,500. It is located on Franklin street in downtown Kenton. This is where the next chapter in the Elks head begins.
September has come, and although Kenton was still a good 10 degrees hotter than usual, D.J. Grindell presented his new purchase to the Elks Lodge during the meeting. For the members and officers of the lodge, the prospect of adding this impressive Elks head to the wall is very exciting. In just three months’ time, the 157 is planning a dedication ceremony and an open house for the new home of the Elks. A two-story home, which through a labor of love they had added a ballroom and lodge room, will become their permanent home. Something as grand as the Elk Head would be a great feature and talking point for the lodge room. Word started to travel through the entire town of this new gift to the lodge, with many people wanting to see it for themselves. Just a few days later in September, the Elks head was placed on exhibition in the store display of Born Shoe Store. It attracted a lot of attention as the head is the largest ever seen hereabouts. It was moved into the new lodge in time for the grand opening and there it hung for 78 years before making its mark in history once again.
If These Antlers Could Talk
I doubt D.J. Grindell or the members of the lodge in 1911 had ever heard of the expression “would love to be a fly on the wall,” but it is fitting for this situation. Imagine all the people the Elks Head on the wall has witnessed over the years or think of how much money has been given away to our local community under its watchful eyes. It was present through 4 massive wars, watching our young soldiers fight and sometimes die for the United States which, during the same time frame, also added New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii to its union. This giant Elks Head oversaw the initiation of many new members all the way up until the lodge centennial year. It is now 1990, and two Elk brothers write the current chapter in its life.
Resurrection and Memory
D. Jack and Robert Buroker are two Past Exalted Rulers of Kenton lodge 157. The younger of the two D. Jack served as ER from 1974 to 1975 and his older brother Robert was ER from 1985 until 1986. They have been working on the centennial celebration and wanted to do something special in honor of their late father Donald S. Buroker. Imagine what 78 years can do to an Elks head hanging on the wall, something had to be done, and the Buroker brothers had a plan. They sent the head off to be reconditioned and then presented it back to club in memory of their father at the 1990 Lodge Centennial Celebration.
Almost 30 years later, the head is still on its journey, hanging high and mighty on the Kenton 157 Lodge room wall. Overseeing the next generation of Elks, making sure we live by our cardinal principles of our order Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love, and Fidelity and forever spreading its antlers of protection. Proving to us all that as members of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks our history will be written on the tablets of love and memory.