Established in 1900, Monumental Lodge No. 3 is the oldest fraternal lodge of the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World in Baltimore. This African American fraternal organization was founded in 1898 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and based on the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, which excluded non-white members.
Monumental Lodge No. 3 began as a club of 30 members, dedication themselves to the fraternal order's mission of charity, justice, brotherly love, and fidelity. The lodge developed its greatest strength between 1929 and 1932, when its membership grew to more than 2,100 members.
In 1929, the lodge purchased its present home at 1528 Madison Avenue. The Elks provided a brotherhood and a platform for empowerment within the African American community. In Old West Baltimore and elsewhere across the country, Elks joined with local churches to provide shelter, material support, money, and leadership to local and national civil rights movements. The Elks were a strong political force in the early 20th century, empowering African Americans to vote, fighting for equality, and fostering strong leaders.
The Monumental Lodge No. 3 was home to many Elks and leaders that were prominent locally and nationally, including George W.F. McMechen, William H. Smith, Ray R. Bond, and Pearl Brown.
the years, the lodge has been supported by three sister organizations: Great Southern Temple Number 30, founded in 1909, Emma Williams Temple Number 358, founded in 1925, and F.E.W. Harper Temple Number 429, founded in 1926.
(Inscription under the image in the upper right) Lodge brothers in top hats, gloves, and coattails, circa 1992.
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor—Baltimore City Landmark, Baltimore National Heritage Area