The History of the Paramus Elks Lodge #2001
On January 26, 1956, a group of Elk and non-Elk met for dinner at the Villa Esposito restaurant to discuss the possibility of forming a local Elk Lodge.
Those Elk present were all members of other lodges who had recently moved into the area. Many of the non Elk lived in surrounding towns. It was decided at that dinner to form one lodge in Paramus to encompass male residents living in nearby communities such as River Edge and Oradell. This was the planting of the first seed. At the end of February, 1956, three temporary officers were elected: William Hay, a member of Elks Lodge #1 was elected Chairman, Martin Smith as Secretary and William Schwartz, Treasurer. The three officers applied for a Charter from the Grand Lodge which was granted, and elections were held for the first official Lodge officers.
With 129 members present at a meeting on April 4, 1956, the officers from Fair Lawn Lodge, #1863, installed the first officers of Paramus Lodge #2001 and we were up and running. The first official officers of the Lodge were John V. Salek , ER, William W. Hay, Esteemed Leading Knight, Joseph J. Goggin, Loyal Knight, Martin Smith, Lecturing Knight, Charles Carson, Esquire, John G . Hurley, Chaplain, William Brennan, Treasurer. Membership dues were $15.00. The institution of the Lodge was held on April 22, 1956 in the auditorium of Stony Lane School in Paramus, with 428 charter members committed to Elkdom. Thereafter, meetings were held at Firehouse Company #1 on East Ridgewood Avenue in Paramus. With the Charter in place, two goals were paramount; increasing membership and raising funds for the construction of a Lodge building.
Various means to raise funds for the new building were initiated. A Building Fund Committee was formed and they proposed to raise $60,000.00 by selling notes to the membership. Articles explaining the architects plans and including a photograph of cement being poured for the Lodge buildings footings were published in local newspapers. The property was donated by Faber Brothers Cement Co. of Paramus. The publicity enticed members to make contributions. The Elks from Lyndhurst Lodge #1505 held a "Paramus Nigh" at their lodge, donating food and providing entertainment to raise money for our building fund. Proceeds from the Paramus Lodge's first anniversary dinner/dance held on April 27, 1957 at"Club 17" in Ramsey were also added to the building account.
Even though members concentrated on the task to build a Lodge, other committees fulfilled their obligations. Better Parades readied marchers for the June convention in Atlantic City. Flag Day services were held jointly at Westwood Lodge #1562. The first copy of "The Triplett" was printed and distributed. Members were urged to advise their ladies to join the Women's Auxiliary. Our Auxiliary was disbanded in 2004, when our women were welcome to become members of the Lodge, but it will retain a prominent place in the history of the Paramus Lodge. The women's exceptional contributions and support will continue to be remembered with feelings of pride, gratification and appreciation.
Jack Dean, a charter member of the new Paramus Lodge 2001 owned and operated a restaurant in Paramus which he was selling. At the time, the purchasers of his property indicated that they were not interested in the building. He approached the other members of the Lodge and they quickly and gratefully accepted his offer of the building, and the land was prepared for the donated structure. In 1957 the building was moved into place on Elks property. The Faber brothers donated the bricks and volunteer members supplied the labor. In April 1958, our incoming Exalted Ruler was the first installed in the new facility, and we were proud to hold the quarterly session the following year. We were off and running. From that time, right up until today, most renovations and repairs to our Lodge are performed on a volunteer basis by our many talented members.
We are fortunate to have several distinguished members representing the Northeast District at the State and National level. Alfred J. Marsh was the first District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler to be appointed from Paramus Lodge, followed by Jack Schwander, John Brudie and George Picart. John Salek was the first State Vice President from the Lodge, followed by Frank Cintron, Wayne Wichart, George Picart and Patrick DeLuca.
We are proud of our Lodge and its accomplishments and proud of ourselves as Elk. We look forward to making Paramus Lodge #2001 ever bigger and better in future years.