Oldest Stone House Museum
Nicholson House Rentals
History of the Society
Lakewood Preservation Fund
Online Exhibit: Theodor Kundtz
Artifacts: Newsletter Articles
Lakewood Historical Society
Mazie M. Adams, Executive Director
14710 Lake Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
The (Lakewood Historical Society's) 50th Anniversary Dance will be held in the Elk’s Lodge at Bunts and Detroit. This beautiful building has a fascinating history. Built in 1915, the building originally housed the Lakewood Tennis Club. The tennis club courts, which occupied the low-lying space where Tops is currently located, were an important arena of action on July 3, 1916, when 2000 people saw a national clay courts tennis tournament there.
Lakewood Lodge No. 1350 of the Elks was formed in 1917. Shortly thereafter, the group moved into the recently vacated Tennis Club building. According the history of Lodge No. 1350 written in 1967, the moving process hit a few snags. “It was in October that several members of the old Lakewood Tennis Club were initiated, and there was some talk that there might be a possibility of the Elks taking over the Tennis Club property. The records during the fall of 1917 are rather vague on the matter of the various discussions regarding this property, but on November 20th a motion by Brother Calvert is recorded that 'If we can rent that property from a holding company at the rate of 6% on an investment of $39,000…the place [should] be rented.' This was about all the encouragement the officers needed. They forced the 'arrangements' and before December 14th our effects had been moved. Brother Lou Reidy was the mover, furnished the delivery truck and helper and the members all helped so that no expense was incurred.”
But the holding Company had not completed its arrangements and that’s where Lakewood Lodge ran into its first snag. “When E. R. Rader called up Brother D.D. Walker, who was handling matters for the Tennis Club interest to inform him that they had 'moved in,' he was greeted with 'Well you have a ____ lot of nerve to move into a property without a scratch of a pen or a dollar paid down.' They were given forty-eight hours to raise the first down payment of $5000. It was raised in ample time, some by stock subscriptions by members in an embryo Holding Company and the balance borrowed from the Lakewood State Bank on a note signed by several members.”
The Elks had a very organized outdoors activities committee which offered a wide variety of events through the years. One of the biggest attractions in Lakewood during the 1930s and 1940s was Elks Field, a ball field developed on the site of the old tennis courts. Elks Field drew hundreds of spectators to double-header games (both men’s and women’s leagues) held seven nights a week from May through September. It was also host to the world softball championships in 1944 and 1946. Elks field gained distinction as the first lighted softball diamond in the United States.
The field was also the site of Elks circuses and carnivals during the 1930s. One year a carnival featured Al Capone’s black bulletproof Cadillac on display. Wayne Cahoon remembers young boys going down to the field after a circus or carnival to look for bottle caps. The kids put the bottle caps, which had a metal top with a cork insert, on their beanies or caps. Wayne’s father won a beautiful two-wheel bike for him at a circus event. The wonderful Elks Field era came to an end in 1958, when the land was leased to Pick-N-Pay, the predecessor of Tops.
Lakewood Historical Society Newsletter 11/01
Lakewood Lore Article: Elks Field shed light on softball for the first time