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Elks' Club Building
Elks' Club Building
TitleElks' Club Building
DescriptionPostcard of the Elk's Club Building
Historical ArticleThe ornate brownstone mansion of the post card served many different purposes after it was moved here from Chicago. For 68 years the old house knew the arts, gambling, charity, pleasure, lodge rituals and people who ranged all the way from North End drifters to presidents of the United States.

The structure was erected first in Chicago in 1893, to serve as the Wisconsin state building on the Columbian World's Fair grounds, and faced the lagoon. William Walters of Oskosh, Wis., the designer and architect, called the architecture modern domestic.

James C. Rogers, a Wamego, Kas., banker, bought the building and when the fair was over in 1894 had it torn down and shipped to Kansas City. It was reassembled at Seventh street and Grand avenue on the northwest corner, facing south, as shown in the picture.

A private gambling retreat, the Wisconsin club, was the next occupant of the old mansion, but when it failed to yield sufficient revenue, was closed.

Next it served as an annex for overflow guests of the fine Midland hotel (across the street to the south), which was the luxury hotel of the day in Kansas City and stopping place for visiting celebrities.

Elks' Lodge No. 26, which had been meeting in a little room in the New York Life building, reached a membership of 300 in 1898 and in that year first leased and then purchased the old Wisconsin building for club rooms, at a cost of $4,000.

In 1951 the club moved out south to the handsome 4-story former home of Charles Armour, at 19 East Armour, which had recently been vacated by the Conservatory of Music.

The final owners, the City Union Mission, purchased the buildings from the Elks. David B. Bulkley, a successful young merchant from Sedalia, Mo., who had a compulsion to help homeless men, founded the mission in a storeroom at 545 Main street. Bulkley had been a Y. M. C. A. worker with the 1st division in World War I and was associated with the Helping Hand Institute.

After Bulkley's death in 1940, Mrs. Bulkley, a daughter Ruth and a son-in-law, the Rev. Maurice Vanderberg, continued the work and later made the 1951 purchase and move to the Elks' aging mansion and adjoining building. The facilities were used for the next 10 years, as a refuge providing food and lodging for homeless men.

In 1961 the property was purchased by a group of downtown businessmen and the historic buildings, aged and worn by constant use, were razed to make way for the present ground-level parking lot.

Kansas City Star
May 1, 1971

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectElks Club Building
Masonic Orders
Fraternal Organizations
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
RightsReproduction (printing, downloading, or copying) of images from Kansas City Public Library requires permission and payment for the following uses, whether digital or print: publication; reproduction of multiple copies; personal, non-educational purposes; and advertising or commercial purposes. Please order prints or digital files and pay use fees through this website. All images must be properly credited to: "Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri." Images and texts may be reproduced without prior permission only for purposes of temporary, private study, scholarship, or research. Those using these images and texts assume all responsibility for questions of copyright and privacy that may arise.
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