The Sidney Elks Lodge Building

> By Marva Ellwanger

> In April of 1929 the City of Sidney, Nebraska acquired the land at 1040 Jackson Street to build a city auditorium, convention center and city offices. Until this time the city offices were scattered around town. The contract was given to the Knudson & Son company from Kearney, Nebraska in July of that year. The contract was for roughly $80,000 to erect the building. The two story rectangular brick building with two arched entrances included a second story with engaged pilasters supporting an entablature.

> With a nationwide economic depression deepening in the United States in 1931, the Omaha World Herald featured an article stating that the building cost $35,000, "completed and paid for in hard cash when accepted from the contractor and constructed without a bond issue." Entertainers such as Duke Ellington, Lawrence Welk, and Ted Weems Band featuring Perry Como all performed there. A young radio reporter by the name of Paul Harvey was a featured speaker at an event at the City Auditorium. Boxers from the Denver area as well as many kids from our area showed their skill in the ring at the auditorium.

> In 1960 the City of Sidney started looking for a buyer for the building. The sale of the building would help go towards the building of new city offices. The City Auditorium was for City Council meetings and some public events. The City of Sidney sold the property in September of 1960 to Fidelity, Inc. This corporation was founded in 1959 when Exalted Ruler Frank Pivonka appointed a group of devoted members to find a permanent home for the Sidney Elks Lodge #1894. Charles Lafler served as President of Fidelity, Inc. with the assistance of Carl Christ Sr., Carl Olson, E.L. Hoover and Lehmkul. In 1968 the Exhalted Ruler Robert Waite, the officers, and Fidelity Inc. decided that the building more than suited their needs. The Lodge borrowed money for remodeling and moved upstairs from the basement. The remodeling included a suspended ceiling that covers the balcony on the second floor.


> In 1978 Fidelity Inc. turned over ownership of the building to the Sidney Elks Lodge #1894 and dissolved the corporation. The building has stood for 89 years in the same footprint. Though the second story windows have been covered and balcony has the suspended ceiling, the jail on the second floor still remains. It is still a meeting place for the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Lodge #1894. It is still serving the community of Sidney, Nebraska.