THE MARION ELKS LODGE 32.
In 1885, Marion Elks Lodge 32 opened its doors as the first Elks Lodge to represent a small community outside a metropolitan area. This location was the second Elks location to open in Ohio. In September 1885, Lodge 32 would institute nine other Ohio Lodges in areas ranging from Cleveland to Columbus. The following year, Warren G. Harding, known for his editorial position at the Marion Star at this time, was asked to deliver a memorial speech on behalf of a lost Elk Brother. It was reported that the Elks members thoroughly enjoyed his speech; Harding would become Elk member no. 67 and, in 1893, serve as an Esteemed Loyal Knight. According to the Elks Annual Resister, Elks Lodge 32 is one of the few to have a U.S. President as a member.
On December 5, 1921, President-elect Warren G. Harding would deliver a promised service to deceased Elk Brothers in Bedford, Virginia, at the Elks National Home during their Memorial Day Service. Harding shared his beliefs on “fraternity of men” and the needs of “fraternity of people and nations.”
Harding stated, “I believe with all my heart, we offer the highest memorial today if we may resolve in our hearts to practice faithfully the things that magnify the helpful memories of the departed and impress on the living the fraternity which sets hearts aglow with happiness and turns our sharp words to songs of praise. This is the sweet assurance for today, it is the encouragement for tomorrow, and it answers the call of the heart for those compensations which must come sometimes and somewhere in God’s eternity.”
Across the U.S. are peaceful corners of landscape where departed Elks Brothers are laid to rest. In 1926, Elk member Newton Davis would donate a burial lot, from this donation came a Burial Lot Committee. Later, Brother William L. Guthery would leave a donation for his departed Elks Brothers, leaving seven lots in the Marion Cemetery. This allowed opportunity for the Brothers to lay side-by-side in “fraternal unity” after their final summons. Burial sites such as these are known as “Elk Rests,” these Lodge-owned cemetery plots exist in 69 Lodge locals. Currently, the Marion 32 Elks Rest is the final resting place for seven departed members.