Americans organized much of their social life around fraternal groups at the turn of the twentieth century. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks provided an important social and charitable outlet for Red Lodge's professionals, who circulated the charter petition in 1899 and established the Beartooth Lodge in 1900. By 1914, membership had grown from the original 40 members to over 160, and the organization needed "larger and more commodious" quarters than its rented rooms. The Elks raised building funds through membership dues, donations, concerts, and vaudeville-style performances. Billings architect C. C. Oehme designed the Elks Lodge in the "bungalow style." Stucco and cobblestones adorn the exterior, which at one time also featured a parapet along the roofline. The thoughtfully designed interior included a first-floor lodge hall, pool hall, card room, and bar. The basement included a banquet hall, kitchen, washroom, and coal room. The Red Lodge Picket declared the handsome building's grand opening on December 18, 1914, "a big hit," predicting that the Elks' new lodge would "become the most popular social place in the city."