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The Kenosha Elks Club is a historic building in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Construction began on the building in 1916 and it was formally dedicated on January 20, 1919.
Plans to construct a club house for the Kenosha chapter of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks began in 1916 when 300 members pledged $65,000 for the purchase of land that formerly housed the Petit Malt House, which burned down in 1914. The land was purchased for $41,000 in June 1916 and by fall of that year, building plans by R. Messmer & Brothers had been improved and the Immel Construction Company had begun work on the site. A cornerstone was laid in June 1917, and on January 20, 1919, the club dedicated the building, which featured a hotel, swimming pool, and numerous dining facilities. Zalmon G. Simmons, founder of the Simmons Bedding Company, was among the men that made up the Building Committee.
Throughout the years, the Elks Club played host to numerous special guests, including Mel Torme and Colonel Sanders.
By the 1990s, the club was experiencing financial problems, and in the early 1990s the building was sold.
The City of Kenosha issued a Raze order against on December 23, 2011, at which point a group calling themselves "Preserve the Elks" formed to save the building from demolition. On March 22, 2012, Kenosha's Historic Preservation Committee voted 4-1 to delay the vote on supporting or opposing the demolition by 120 days.
The City of Kenosha reports that they have fielded "several calls"from parties interested in seeing the building.
Preserve the Elks Building is a grass roots organization whose
intent is to purchase the Historic Elks Club building and restore it
to useful purpose and service in the Kenosha Downtown area.
This remarkable building originally featured a ballroom capable of
serving 450+ guests and several smaller dining facilities to suit
30-110 diners. In addition there were small hotel type rooms on
the fourth floor for visiting Elks members.
November 16th, 2012
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