By News-Register staff • 

Elks lodge purchased

News-Register file photo##Elks laid a memorial cornerstone when the building was constructed in the 1930s.
News-Register file photo##Elks laid a memorial cornerstone when the building was constructed in the 1930s.
News-Register file photo##McMinnville Elks Club 1283 moved into the building at Fourth and Evans in 1936.
News-Register file photo##McMinnville Elks Club 1283 moved into the building at Fourth and Evans in 1936.
News-Register file photo##
News-Register file photo##

Creekside Community Church, based in downtown McMinnville during the past 10 years, this week completed purchase of the McMinnville Elks Lodge building at 4th and Evans streets downtown.

Church Pastor Steve Mansour said papers were signed on Wednesday, and the church will take possession of the building in 30 days. Following extensive remodeling of the historic downtown facility, the church hopes to move into the facility by mid-August or soon after.

State records show that the Elks building was constructed in 1937, but Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler Danny John Davis said the local Elks organization moved into the facility in 1936. He said one side of the building once was a stables, and the other was the local armory.

Davis, in confirming the sale, described the sadness felt by many in the Elks organization.

“Our membership has lapsed in recent years,” said Davis, “and many of the 260 remaining members don’t come in any longer. People don’t know what our fraternal organization does, so it’s hard to recruit. Until we can build membership back up, this is just too much building for the organization.

Davis said the Elks are talking with American Legion leaders about using their facility for meeting in the short-term, while the Elks look for other property to lease and even to build on in the future.

“Our Elks Lodge has been in McMinnville for more than 100 years,” said Davis, “and we aren’t going anywhere.”

Creekside Community has been leasing space in the downtown Grand Ballroom building since 2006.

“One of the exciting things about the Elks Lodge,” Pastor Mansour wrote recently on the church website, “is that it would not only provide additional seating, but it will also provide an expanded fellowship area and a commercial kitchen – both of which are tools that will serve to develop relationships in our body. Having a building that works for the purposes and mission of the church, even after people leave it, is exactly what a building should do.”

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