The La Habra Elks Lodge

Elks Care and Elks Share

La Habra Elks

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These write-ups are the fine work of Frank Mickadeit of the OC Register who published a series of articles on the Elks Lodges.  There are repeated onto this site to make it easy for our friends to find.

From La Habra – The La Habra Elks Lodge is the smallest in the district, with just over 300 members. But it has one thing most of the other lodges do not: a statue of a full-size Elk in full-bugling mode on the top of the building. The scale of the elk combined with the relatively modest size of the building; a large illuminated sign with vertically stacked purple letters E-L-K-S; and the location of all this Elk splendor on busy East Whittier Boulevard, conspire to make this perhaps the most visible lodge in its respective city.

Like the elk that once graced Fullerton's lodge (and we hope will again one day), the La Habra elk was salvaged from a fiberglass statuary at the old Lion Country Safari theme park in Irvine. Abused over the years by the elements, would-be thieves and pranksters (including, allegedly, one drunken serviceman who somehow got onto the roof, stripped his clothes off and climbed onto the elk's back to "ride" it) the elk had seen better days.

The beast's coat had faded to a pinkish hue – a total sissy elk, if you will – and Judy Maxwell was disgusted. During a recent renovation that included fresh exterior paint and landscaping, Maxwell had her brother Elks pull the big elk off the roof. She looked up some photos of real elks and repainted it in colors as close to authentic as she could find at the paint store. For this effort, and more, she was named Elk of the Year and awarded the coveted parking space – second only to the bar manager's in proximity to the front door.

There's no feeling quite like walking out of the burning, blinding sun on a hot summer afternoon and into a cool, dark bar where refreshments and good people are waiting. Stan and I were greeted in such an environment by no less than La Habra Mayor Tom Beamish, who welcomed us to his town with a gift basket, and by City Councilman Jim Gomez. It's interesting how ever since The Lisa Bartlett Incident, mayors know to keep Stan at arm's length.

Exalted Ruler Jim Rutherford and some of his officers then took us across the street for lunch at the landmark local Mexican restaurant, El Cholo, where on Aug. 19, half of the proceeds from the dinner service will be donated to the Elks. We talked about the lodge's renewed civic involvement, and how for the first time in more than two decades it will have a booth at the Corn Festival.

Along the lines of civic duty, one of the Elks, "Dirty" Dave Coffin, told me that a guy I see many Friday afternoons, Richard Hall, still owes the La Habra Children's Museum an old locomotive as part of a development deal he cut with the late city manager, Lee Risner. Hall seems to think his end of the bargain died with Risner, but people in La Habra still remember. And are bitter. Maybe they'd settle for one of Hall's old limousines for the kids to crawl around in.

After lunch, Stan and I sat outside the R.V. and received non-Elk visitors, among them Lee Quarnstrom and Laurie Kilian, who brought us each apple pies and whose business card reads, "Superwoman." My pie was super. Quarnstrom, 69, is a former columnist at the San Jose Mercury News and he sends me little critiques of my work from time to time, but we'd never met. He was also once editor of "Hustler." His business card, sadly, does not title him as "Former Pornographer." A local English teacher also stopped by, but I forgot to write down his name or get his card.

Kilian mostly listened as we men chatted. We hated to see her go, but the second she got into her car to leave, I asked the Quarnstrom a question that had been on all the guys' minds: "What was it like to edit 'Hustler'? " A purely journalistic inquiry, of course.

"I think if Larry Flynt had decided to go into medicine he would have cured cancer," Quarnstrom said of his former boss. The "editing" part of the job was really like any other magazine, although he allowed that sometimes he was moved to "go into the studio and see how things were going."

The best part of the whole job, he said, was being the decision-maker for a publication with a readership of 2 million. Right. And people get "Playboy" for the articles.

Dinner was homemade tacos prepared by Elks Ed andBeverly Jahr, and during said feast I talked to Gerri Endicott about the program she and her husband, Bob, put together for veterans. They gather cookies, candy and other junk food and stuff that 18-to-25-year-olds crave, and send it in boxes to U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. What makes this story sweeter is that one of the Marines who got such a package visited the lodge while on leave so he could thank members. And now Cpl. Leland Vaughan is set to join.

Another near-flawless performance by me on stage, capped by the presentation to me of an actual California State Assembly Certificate of Recognition for my historic "Eleven Lodges, Eleven Nights" Tour. It is signed by Assemblyman Mike Duvall. As I told the Elks, I apologize if the floor debate over that is what was holding up the state budget.

La Habra profile: Founded: 1958. Membership: 317. Total length of (2) bars: 49 feet. Good works: Sponsors of Little League, Pop Warner, youth basketball, the Gary Center food-and-dental-clinic program, and a special Christmas toy drive for the families of Marine Corps NCOs at Camp Pendleton.

Tour schedule: Saturday: Orange. Meeting and greeting general public outside the lodge at corner of Chapman Avenue and Orange Street from about 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. This last show of the tour is for Elks with prepaid tickets only.