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Articles > Elks Lodge 860 Destroyed by Fire

Main & Sweeney, North Tonawanda, NY
10 Dec 2011

Tragedy struck an historic Twin Cities landmark in the early morning hours of December 10, 2011, when a devastating fire destroyed Elks Lodge 860 at the corner of Main and Sweeney Streets in North Tonawanda. The 14,000-square-foot building, constructed in 1921, was designed by architect Louis Eggert. The blaze broke out on the third floor near a boiler room and quickly engulfed the entire structure. No injuries were reported, but the building was a total loss; estimated at more than $1.1 million. Attempts were made to salvage some of the priceless relics contained inside the building, but due to exposed asbestos, demolition was started on Sunday, December 11. More, from The Tonawanda News...

North Tonawanda Elks Club 860, May, 1929.

This original May 5, 1929 photo, taken by noted local photographer H. F. Wittkowski and donated to the Historical Society by Mrs. Geraldine Wolf, shows members of B.P.O.E. #860 preparing to leave for their National Convention in Los Angeles, California. It was reported that there were 100,000 members in attendance, many driving Studebaker roadster convertibles from around the country. When the photo is blown up, it can be seen that the four automobiles are specially painted and lettered: NEW YORK TO LOS ANGELES, The Elks Magazine, STUDEBAKER PRESIDENT 8, Elks National Convention, July x-xx, 1929.

Note also the faint change in color where the photo was "cropped" by the paperboard frame.

J.T. Slater