Atlantic City, July 1911
After the great success of the Detroit 1910 Convention, the Elks took their thousands of members, supporters and visitors to Atlantic City in 1911.
After the Carnival Glass "Elks-fest" of Detroit, 1910, the offering for Atlantic City was far more limited. Fenton again made Carnival Glass souvenirs for the Elks: only blue Carnival was on offer - a blue bowl and plate and a very special bell.
There was to be nothing for Atlantic City from Millersburg, which is not surprising, as they had been placed in bankruptcy in June 1911 and they were in no shape to pitch for making Elks souvenirs.
The “biggest assemblage of good fellows ever gathered in any community” was how the newspapers described the Elks National Convention in Atlantic City, in July 1911, where the number of visitors was expected to top at least 100,000.
Elks came on special trains from far and wide.
Announcement in the June, 1911 Arizona Republican
It was to be a “watery week for the Bills” – they had the ocean on their doorstep but also the 10 storey hotel where the dignitaries were accommodated - The Strand - didn’t have a liquor license and so water was the principal beverage on the bill of fare.
This is somewhat ironic given that one of the reasons they were founded in 1867 was to overcome New York's "dry Sunday"!
Fenton BPOE Elks, Atlantic City 1911. A blue ice cream shaped bowl, courtesy of Seeck Auctions.
Elks Postcard courtesy of Mike Jones
Ostriches and Snake Dancers!
Elks came in from all over the nation.
Arizona sent its representatives “in a special train from Phoenix accompanied by two very husky Ostriches and a band of fifteen Hopi Indian snake dancers”.
The decorations all over the city, that welcomed the visitors, were amazing. Atlantic City was bedecked in purple and white bunting – in fact $50,000 was spent by the city on bunting alone (that would be $1,250,000 today!) with another $25,000 ($625,000 today) spent on electrical effects, that included special purple lighting after dark.
The Altoona Tribune reported that “strings of purple incandescent globes upon the trolley standards will carry out the semblance of a canopy of blue fire”. It really must have been an incredible spectacle.
Left: The Atlantic City Elks parade in the Harlowtown, News Montana, August 1911
Twenty five thousand Elks were reported to have been in the main parade, which was seven miles long and reportedly took two hours to pass by the spectators. The parade was pictured in the Harlowtown News (Montana) - shown above - note the lines of umbrellas!
New for Atlantic City 1911 - a bell
In addition to making blue bowls and plate, Fenton also made a blue bell for the 1911 Elks convention in Atlantic City. Very few are known.
It begs the question:
Why did the Elks choose a souvenir Bell?
For the Elks, 11:00 p.m. is the “hour of recollection,” when members pause to remember deceased and absent lodge members.
If they were holding a meeting, a bell or chimes would ring 11 times and the exalted ruler would give a toast in remembrance of those not present.
The Carnival bell was highly symbolic of this act.