Park City Elk's Building celebrates 100 years on Main St. with with an open house on Sat.
The Park City chapter of the Benevolent Protection of the Elks is celebrating the 100th anniversary of being on Main Street and is welcoming the public to a rare opportunity to visit the lodge this weekend.
The Elks Lodge at 550 Main Street is the oldest continuously operating building on Main Street, and while the building used to be open to the public a lot of more often, its use today is limited to only the Sundance Film Festival and Elks members.
Elks Treasurer Cheryl Soshnik says the building was built in 1922 and opened in time to host a Christmas party. 100 years later, she says they’re doing the same thing from 1 to 4 pm. on Saturday.
“A public open house will take place where we have all sorts of documents and pictures of things that have gone on in the building in the last 100 years,” Soshnik said. “And we're going to have light refreshments and food and we have Santa Claus for the littles. So, it's kind of a fun thing. You know, I'm interested in it for the history. But it's also a fun event for people who are strolling down Main Street on Saturday afternoon, come on up, and see and take a tour of our 100- year-old lodge upstairs.”
The Elks lease the ground level to a retail business, Tanner Traders. Between that and the Sundance lease, Elks member Craig Cooper says they have the funds to be one of the most benevolent organizations in Park City.
We're one of the largest providers of scholarships, if not the largest outside the school system,” Cooper said. “And we're also one of the largest, if not the largest athletic program outside the school system with our Hoop Shoot that we conduct every year. Our main focus for charities are veterans and veterans programs. And then we have a camp here. Most states have a project that is kind of their main focus and ours is a camp out in Tooele for children with life-threatening illness and their family.”
The Elks meet every second and fourth Thursday of the month at the Lodge. New members are welcome but must be sponsored by a current member. There are two primary requirements to membership – one is to be an American citizen and the other is to believe in God.
Duncan Silver has been a member of the Elks Lodge for 50 years. He says when researching the building’s history, he learned that it took only six months to build. But since then, many improvements have had to be made.
“When I first became a member, I looked downstairs in the basement and it looked like they every day they brought in a new different set of footings for the thing,” Silver said. “They were all over the place. There was no rhyme or reason, but it held up the floor when we finally had to take all that out and replace it with a uniform foundation.”
Once inside Soshnik says, people will see that the interior of the lodge hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years.