“The Cotton Pickers” B.P.O.E. Lodge No. 148
Greenville, Mississippi (Washington County)
In its heyday, the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elk, No. 148 Lodge, also known as the “Cotton Pickers” Elk Lodge, was the social center for Greenville. Originally chartered in 1890, the “Cotton Pickers” built their once proud Neo-classic home in Greenville in 1906 and opened the doors in 1907. The Greenville Times of February 16, 1907, described the building as including a billiard hall, a barber shop, and a full library decorated with rare and expensive oil paintings and as being lighted by both gas and electricity. The “Cotton Pickers” Lodge has been converted many times since the Elks left. Now the home of the Mississippi Action for Community Education (M.A.C.E.), an organization committed to the preservation and education of African-American culture, the building is in urgent need of help. In the 1990’s, M.A.C.E. and other concerned citizens saved the building several times from the bulldozer and had the building designated a Mississippi Landmark in 2002. If care is not taken soon to restore the building, the city could force demolition.
2017 Update – No Progress
The Cotton Pickers Lodge is now in more danger than ever. The City of Greenville is losing its downtown green space to make way for a new Federal Courthouse; consequently, a new green space is desired. Unfoutently the City seems to have its eye on the old Lodge a solution. There is a party interested in saving and restoring Cotton Pickers with aspirations to convert the building into a boutique hotel the clock is ticking however and If nothing is done soon to save Cotton Pickers very well may be lost.