Every Good Thing Must Come to an End
A major $125,000 renovation program was planned for the Downtown Lodge in June 1959. All three floors of our Lodge were to be included in the rehabilitation project. The first floor was to get a 28 foot addition. The hotel rooms on the second floor were to be eliminated, providing room for dining areas and recreation. Also planned was an apartment for the club manager and two conference rooms, This proposal was brought before the Lodge for approval and was voted down in it entirety. It is regretful that not even a partial renovation was considered.
Twelve years later on May 1971, this again was brought to the forefront. Our building could be condemned at any time in its present condition. A committee was formed. They thought a dues increase was necessary to pay for this, but is also was voted down. Then they got some estimates for a renovation. The other recommendation made, was to relocate to a new home.
After 67 fabulous years of use, the Grand Old Lady was showing her age. Low bid came in at $60.00 per square foot for complete modernization. Considering the total square footage of this four story building, renovation was no longer an option.
In 1982 our finances were in dire shape. In 1983 we came to the conclusion that the deterioration had passed a point of no return and the building was put up for sale. It was appraised at $243,000.00. It was listed and put up for sale in January, 1984. The Executive National, a real estate development company, purchased the property. A committee was appointed to find a new suitable home.
In March 1984, it was voted and approved to move to Woodlake and was a topic of controversy for quite a while. The cornerstone was removed and taken to David Monument on HWY 92 to be duplicated and stored. A metal box behind the cornerstone containing our charter, coins from 1817, a newspaper and other personal item were in good condition after 67 years and placed in the Secretary;s office to be later placed behind a new cornerstone.
Woodlake and the “Store Front”
After being in Woodlake for a few months, the Secretary and Treasurer were reporting a loss of revenue. Membership was growing but participation in the facilities was down. Was the move to Woodlake a mistake? Everything pointed to this and the good news was we had only leased the property for one year.
And so, Elk members discussed the issue at large at the lounge. The ER was Doc Copeland and as usual had many discussions before we came to an agreement. Many articles were written about what is best for Elkdom as various locations and prices were mentioned. We also started Wednesday night dinners on June 1985.
A new committee again was formed to find a suitable place for our new home. A few places were suggested, but turned down. We decided to move to a temporary location which we found at 2327 East Edgewood Drive, so we called it, “the store front location”. Al Schmidt was our new ER and we Elks took to fixing it up. This came at a cost to us, as our membership fell from 944 to 524. We all had to pull together so we had our dinner dances, our golf tournaments, supported the State charities, gave baskets of cheer during the holidays and started bingo. We stayed here until September 1985.
During these hard times of being without a home, our members showed the proverbial “Right Stuff”. Morale was kept high and attendance was much higher than normal, considering the conditions