Back in 1886 several gentlemen had an idea, “What could be done to be able to get together on the weekends and enjoy the things we have in common”. These gentlemen became known as the “Jolly Corks” and founded what became one of the greatest benevolent organizations known today, this being the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
From this meager beginning, Gilroy had the opportunity to become part of this organization and again, men of vision got together to form an exploratory committee to find out what had to be done to become part of this organization called “ELKS”. These men petitioned the Grand Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and were granted a Certificate of Dispensation. This allowed these gentlemen to proceed to get the Lodge established.
The Lodge was finally granted a Charter and became known as “Gilroy Elks Lodge No. 1567. The Lodge was instituted on August 8, 1929. There are many men who were instrumental for our Lodge to receive its charter. Men like Lin Walker Wheeler, or as he was known around the City of Gilroy, “LW”, Brother Wheeler was a devoted Elk and was very instrumental in the Lodge obtaining its Charter. In addition, “LW” donated the building on Monterey Street to the Lodge, then valued at around $40,000.00 and this building became the first Lodge. The original building still stands downtown Gilroy and the corner stone is still intact.
Because of this donation, the Lodge sold the building and was able to acquire a new building which is its present location and has been since 1969. In 1986, additions were added to the building. These additions were a Members Lounge, Exercise Room and a Sauna.
One of the interesting things to see at the Lodge when you visit, ask to see our “Clock” in the Lodge Room. This clock was built by C.R. Weaver. Dr. Weaver, a local dentist, attended the Grand Lodge Convention in Portland, Oregon in July of 1912 with the hopes of selling his invention of an electrical clock for use in ritualistic works of the Order. Dr. Weaver had two clocks made. The first clock was presented to the Alameda Elks Lodge where it is still to this day. The second clock was presented to the Gilroy Elks Lodge. This clock is described as being “32 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep with a 22 inch dial composed of 52 pieces of the finest French Art Glass. Each lamp, from 1 to 11, is lit simultaneously with the stroke of the gong and all the lamps remain lit after the eleventh stroke. The center of the dial is lit, showing the Stars and Stripes in their respective colors”. When the lights in the clock are turned out, it automatically sets itself for the next operation. Since August 8, 1929 and to this present day, our Clock strikes the “Hour of Eleven” as a reminder of our Departed Members. The Clock is used during Lodge meetings, Memorial Services and during Initiations of New Members.