Elks Fezzes

The regalia of the Elks (BPOE) used to be much closer to that used by Freemasons. At some point they ceased to wear aprons, and at some point in a later era they took to wearing fezzes. There aren’t enough Elks fezzes out there to suggest that the hats were worn generally by the membership, and those that are found are primarily mid-century and were usually decorated with bullion and the occasional stone and embroidered detail, some are a little later and tend toward the white-cupped stones and patches.

On the other hand, the IBPOEW, the so-called “Black Elks,” had and have a much more extensive culture of fezzes. Their use of the hats is diverse and vivid, their designs are various and often surprising. Both the male IBPOEW-ers and the female “Daughter Elks” have and do wear the fez, very often with highly elaborate use of stones and bullion, a variety of fez colors, and a panoply of tassel colors to convey complex information.

This section will handle fezzes from both organizations together. Spirit of amity and all that!

TAFC.2008.4 ~ BPOE Elks Fez, 1809 Renton Washington

Purple Elks fez with the name Howard O. Epperson stitched into the hatmaker’s tag.

Purple felt, silver tassel.

Elk embroidered in gold bullion thread with rhinestones in the antlers.


in rhinestones set in white plastic bezel cups.

Rhinestone ring 4 stones wide just below the knot of the tassel.

No leather sweat band.

No Elks Lodge is listed for Renton, WA at this time. (http://www.waelks.net/lodges.htm)

TAFC.2008.5 ~ BPOE Elks Fez, 1558, Carlsbad, NM

Purple Elks fez.
Purple felt, white tassel.
Decoration is a series of five embroidered patches. Central patch has rhinestones set in white plastic bezel cups.

LODGE No1558

TAFC.2009.142 ~ IBPOEW Fez, Tuckyanna No. 1386, Louisville, KY

Elks fez.
Purple felt, yellow tassel.
A mixture of metal bullion, rhinestones, and embroidered patch.
Fez reads: “Exalted Ruler, Tuckyanna No. 1386, Louisville, KY”
Rhinestone cups are clear. which I believe may date this fez tot he 50s.

Tassel is gold or yellow, somewhat dingy. A metal band with rhinestones set encircles the top of the tassel, just below where the tassel is stitched to the fez.

Headband is loose and in pieces. No maker’s mark or emblem visible. Interior panel behind lettering, etc is blank black.

TAFC.2010.2 ~ BPOE Elks Fez, Monumenatal 3, Baltimore, MD

Purple Elks Fez with silver tassel and 2-tone bullion lettering and emblem.

Bullion is probably silver (tarnished dark) and coppery or brassy, mixed together to produce a dimensional, decorative effect. A thin, single red thread is stitched in to form the tongue of the elk.

Fez is unvented.

According to their Facebook page, Monumental 3 is the Mother Lodge of Black Elks, founded by Arthur Riggs and William Lewis, among others, in 1900. Lewis was a railroad man and an avid fraternalist, and Riggs had obtained a BPOE ritual. FB history indicates that in the early years growth was slow, as the community assumed the new order to be a sports org, not a fraternal org. Monumental 3 moved to its current home in Baltimore in 1927. By the early 1930s, M3 had 2100 members.

17 comments on “Elks Fezzes

  1. Jason Castlebury says:

    The word ceased being used in discribing the Elks not wearing apron’s any more. Means that in 1895 the Elks Grand Reunion as the called it back then had a huge infighting in the year 1895 and they voted to substitute Jewels to be worn instead of the universal Elks Aprons being worn by the Grand officers and the subordinate lodge officers to wear. Now their is “no” law that says you can not wear any aprons while initiation is proceeding.
    I still wear my BPOE apron for any lodge initiation or installation of officer’s and or Elks Memorial or Elks Flag day ceremonies. I usually the only one in the lodge wearing one but that is okay to.
    I’m sure the Brother Elks from way back when don’t mind at all!!! Elks Aprons

    • Peter F. Terry says:

      Bro. Jason Castlebury I’m the Exalted Ruler for New River Lodge #1109 Jacksonville,NC IBPOEW. I think it’s great that you still wear your apron it shows pride in the order. Keep Navigating Bro.

      • Jason Castlebury says:

        Thank you my friendly kind friend

        I do enjoy the great history of the BPOE USA. As well enjoying the
        allowing of BPOE aprons not be outlawed is a priceless feeling of
        of pride of the Elks fellowship.
        True most Elks do not wear BPOE aprons for initiation or Elks ceremonies. But, I don’t fail
        to bring mine. Im not the only Elk today that wears a Elk apron. Their a small few that still wear aprons as i do. Does the IBPOEW still wear aprons. Are their any photos of IBPOEW Elks wear ing their aprons other than the photo on google with IBPOEW Elks wearing the aprons & gloves outside their lodge? I as well wear the gloves to. I read in the The Authentic History of the BPOE written Mr. Ellis version that the first Elks rest for Brother: Farmer had BPOE Elks wear aprons and white gloves for the grave side ceremony for Brother: Farmer. That had to be a breath taking event to take apart of! May Elks aprons never be forsaken! It’s to good of a history to pass up and make it illegal to wear BPOE aprons while in lodge!

  2. Erma McKinney says:

    Looking for more information on the Chicago Black Elks especially lodge number 950 and all photographs pertaining to this specific IBPOEW fraternity.

  3. Jason Castlebury says:

    I would like to help but I’m not an IBPOEW member!
    I’m in the BPOE the parent fraternal order of the IBPOEW and Canadian Elks Lodges.
    Therefore I regret to tell I wouldn’t be able to help with IBPOEW historical
    garb. The little knowledge I know about them is that they still kinda go with Masonic model of an Elks Lodge.
    They wear aprons and Elks ritual gloves, their might be degree work, and memorization of oaths & obligations!
    The Elks of the BPOE ran with that same model for over 40 to 60 year’s
    in the BPOE. But, the stock market crash in the early 1900’s didn’t any favors towards the BPOE!
    It kicked the BPOE’s butt. It was the cause of the big NY #1 Mother Lodge to go under. As well as other lodges like my home town of Austin, Texas.
    The crash and world wars hurt Austin’s
    membership count always. So you know it probably effect the IBPOEW to!

    BPOE allows most people who are respectful towards authority and believes in God and America his or her
    Lodge and can’t stand communists!

    The IBPOEW usually doesn’t put much out on the web. They seem to be very low key and very secretive of their orders goings ons! So be aware it won’t be easy.
    I can how ever send a few pictures I have of some of their members. That would be it and all I know or have!

    • Exalted Ruler Peter F. Terry says:

      Hello Mrs.Emma Greetings Bro. Bill from New River Lodge #1109 Jacksonville, NC IBPOEW. If there’s anything you’d like to know. I’m willing to give lots of knowledge as long as its not against the Elks Constitution.

  4. Peter Terry , Exalted Ruler New River Lodge #1109 Jacksonville, NC says:

    I’ve got you covered Bro. Castlebury I’ve got pictures in our regalia from all regions of the “forest”.
    in the defense of us not really putting much out on the internet. There is a website out I believe the name is Stitchgarus or Phoenix Masonry that has the BPOE initiation and other things from your ritual online so our Grand lodge uses extreme caution on what we put out there.

  5. Jason Castlebury says:

    I hope I have not affended any one!
    My words were just to inform and
    not inflame any unpeaceful remarks.
    I probably should of chosen less straight to the point words.
    It’s all I knew about the IBPOEW.
    Their are some differences between
    between the two orders and how we conduct our buisness!
    Sorry for any hurt feelings.
    Was not my intention.
    Peace & Harmony be the will of the day.

  6. Exalted Ruler Peter F. Terry says:

    I’m not angered Bro. Castlebury I was just letting you all know why we don’t put much on the internet. Also to let you know about that website with ritualistic things posted.

    • Jason Castlebury says:

      I’ve looked at and know about the Masonic museum online and I accessed the IBPOEW ritual at one point. I have always wondered if the IBPOEW has been using the original BPOE ritual used back in the 1800’s?
      Or have you guys changed your ritual
      any through out the decades like the BPOE to be legally palatable ritual work?

    • Jason says:

      Do you brother IBPOEW Elks still wear your aprons and Elks ritual gloves?

      I still wear our apron and ritual gloves in the BPOE USA. Most wouldn’t like it or know where or what it comes from!

      If you have pictures send me an email and we will trade photos!

  7. Jason Castlebury says:

    It’s really good that you guys don’t rely
    on the web or social media!
    I could name a lodge I know that used social media. They used it merely to smear brother and sister Elks that others used to see fit for their own political meanness. Can I ask where or what regalia providers for ibpoew aprons these days? Other than laughter regalia! I use Klitzner some times to make some what okay BPOE replica apron’s. I wish I could have a regalia maker offer a scale & size replica
    of the original BPOE member’s apron.
    The replica aprons I haves payed to be made. The regalia left the apron with size and design flaws!
    It’s like going to McDonalds and they hear your order loud and clear.
    But, after you pull away you find out that your order was screwed up!
    That’s not always a happy moment in time. Let me know and I will check it out!


    Hey Brother Castlebury sorry I’m replying So late. There is one other place I’ve used and Thats ELKEXPRESSIONS.COM.

  9. Peter F. Terry says:

    Greetings fellow ER from New River Lodge #1109 Jacksonville NC.

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