|Address:||32 Public Square|
|Original Owner:||B.P.O.E. Lodge #140|
The Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks was originally organized in Mount Vernon on November 14, 1889. Because the order did not have a hall of its own, the opening ceremony was held in a hall located on the 3rd floor of the Kremlin/Cooper Building. The B.P.O.E. shared this hall with at least two other fraternal orders, the International Order of Odd Fellows, and the Knights of Pythias. The Elk's later absorbed the Crescent Club, and occupied the latter's hall located at 5 South Gay Street. By 1894, the order moved again to a place located at 106 South Main Street, on part of the lot where Farley & Moore Antiques stands today. In 1904, the order relocated to a hall on the 3rd floor of the former First-Knox National Bank Building, located on the west corner of South Main Street and the Public Square. The order resided at this location for the next 20 years under the name of Elk's Home. Ladies of the Elks was an adjunct social order that was formed in 1917, composed of the wives and daughters of existing members. By 1924, however, B.P.O.E. Lodge #140 decided it was time for a building of its own, as its social and charitable responsibilities increased to include minstrel shows, dances, clambakes, scholarship programs, and many other social programs and events. The Lodge erected its current building on the northwest corner of the Public Square and Plum Alley that same year.
The Lodge erected the Neo-Classical two-story building on the western side of the Public Square in 1924. This red brick building is accented with white stone, including the cornice, belt-course, and quoins. The main entrance is surrounded by richly carved white stone moldings, and is topped with a stone shield centered above the transom window. Flemish bonding of the face bricks lends a textural contrast to the building's heavy sandstone detailing.