1900-1902; 1906; 1911
255-259 N. Front St., Wilmington, NC
Tony P. Wrenn, Wilmington, North Carolina: An Architectural and Historical Portrait (1984).
In early March, 1900, it was reported that architect Charles McMillen was drawing up plans for the Elks building. Later that month the lodge leadership received plans from other architects, including Hook and Sawyer of Charlotte, who gained the commission in April after a personal visit from Frank M. Sawyer. Newspaper references generally identify Sawyer as the architect for the building. The 3-story brick structure was completed within the year, and the Wilmington Messenger of December 7, 1907 noted that the lodge had held their first meeting there on the previous evening. “The elks’ head with electric lights on the tips of the antlers was a pretty sight last night when it was lighted for the meeting. It is on the outside of the building and not only was it lighted but the entire building was brilliantly illuminated.” A previous report in the Wilmington Morning Star of November 14, 1900, had noted the arrival of the bronze elk’s head by a steamer from New York. Within a few years, first the interior and then the front façade were remodeled by architect Leitner, and additional changes were made later in the 20th century. At some point the elk’s head on the façade was removed. Tony P. Wrenn (Wilmington, North Carolina: An Architectural and Historical Portrait ) notes that in 1906 the organizational meeting of the North Carolina Association of Architects, predecessor of the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects, was held here. Charles C. Hook was elected president.