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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Central City Elks Lodge Clock

While roaming the internet, I came across an interesting tidbit about the Elks Lodge in Central City, CO. Did you notice that the time is "stuck" at eleven o'clock? This wasn't an accident!

A picture of the clock was recently placed on (displayed below):
The description said, "This beautiful Elks Lodge building features a clock in the upper decorative story. The clock may not even have an actual clockworks since the Elks set their clocks to 11:00 [p.m.] in honor of the traditional toast." This was certainly a tradition I'd never heard of, so I followed the additional links provided which included another photo on with some history of the Central City Elks (pictured below)
and a historical link on the Elks website.

According to these two websites, the Central City lodge was organized in 1900 and purchased this building on Main Street in 1902. The lodge brought home many honors from the state Elks convention in Denver in 1906. Membership rates have varied over the years, with highs from mining booms and the building of the Moffat Tunnel and lows as a result of the 1918 flu epidemic and various difficult economic times.

As for the clock stuck at 11:00, there is an Elks traditional toast at that time, which harkens back to a curfew established after the Battle of Hastings when all fires had to be extinguishing at eleven o'clock. It began to be considered a somber time and gave rise to phrases like someone being on their deathbed in the "eleventh hour." Throughout the years various groups began using this time of night to honor those that had passed, which you can read more about on the Elks website. Some time in the early 1900s, the Elks adopted a "fixed and official" Eleven O'Clock Toast.

You have heard the tolling of 11 strokes.
This is to remind us that with Elks, the hour of 11 has a tender significance.
Wherever Elks may roam, whatever their lot in life may be, when this hour falls upon the dial of night, the great heart of Elkdom swells and throbs.
It is the golden hour of recollection, the homecoming of those who wander, the mystic roll call of those who will come no more.
Living or dead, Elks are never forgotten, never forsaken.
Morning and noon may pass them by, the light of day sink heedlessly in the West, but ere the shadows of midnight shall fall, the chimes of memory will be pealing forth the friendly message,
"To our absent members."

You can find several more Eleven O'Clock Toasts on the same Elks website.

Look for this and other great historical buildings the next time you head to Central City!

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