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Photos: Another bit of Batavia history being reduced to rubble

By Howard B. Owens

A wrecking crew is tearing down the Batavia Elks Lodge building today.

The property was purchased by United Memorial Medical Center in December to make way for "future growth." It will become a vacant lot with grass and plants in the meantime.

Howard B. Owens

In a previous thread, a couple of people noted that with UMMC's purchase of the property, the property was taken off the tax roles.

I left a comment noting that since the Elks were non-profit, it was already off the tax roles.

A source familiar with which properties were being taxed said actually, the Elks did pay taxes on the property. He thinks it's because they had a bar.

Aug 22, 2011, 1:17pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

As I was posting these pictures I thought, "I should have asked about the doorway stone while I was there."

So I went back.

A worker told me they had been asked to preserve the stone. However, rather than being solid stone, which he was expecting, it was only about two inches thick and broke when it hit the ground.

Aug 22, 2011, 1:59pm Permalink
Lisa DeSantis

What a sad day! I spent a lot time at the Elks Lodge over the last almost 30 years. A lot of good times and good friends for sure. Seeing the building demolished makes me think back. I will always be grateful to Joe and Mary Marchese for intoducing me to the 950!

Aug 22, 2011, 2:29pm Permalink
Lisa Falkowski

Yes, Lisa, an awful day for all of us! There was no way to tear down that building, being careful not to break that stone? I suppose none of the workers, or the hospital, truly cared about this area's history.

Aug 22, 2011, 2:42pm Permalink
Ted Wenzka

Post #6 would you PLEASE get off your soap box. The breaking of the headstone was an accident. If you read Howard's post #4 you would have seen that they were going to save the headstone but did not know it was so thin. Based on your comment I believe you are a UMMC basher.

Aug 22, 2011, 2:57pm Permalink
C. M. Barons

"...asked to preserve the stone (door header)." Oops, it broke when it hit the ground. Sounds like a concerted effort to me! (...Wasn't UMMC that got bashed; it was the door header.)

Aug 22, 2011, 3:07pm Permalink
Gabor Deutsch

It is too bad the previous owners of the building did not know how fragile the head stone was nor could afford to make sure it was removed intact like the bar was. It seems to me the public cares more about it than the actual people involved with the lodge. I am no expert but a backhoe is not the proper tool for that kind of job.

Aug 22, 2011, 3:13pm Permalink
C. M. Barons

Gabor, I would suggest that feeling for the lodge, its members and social events within its walls was expended when the charter was revoked. I recall a number of comments expressed then. Similarly, regret was expressed at the initial announcement of pending demolition. The current spate of regret may seem narrow-scoped or anti-climactic, but there was hope that some tangible keepsake might be retained, notably, the door header. ...One more in a series of disappointments for those devoted to the lodge.

Aug 22, 2011, 7:01pm Permalink
George Richardson

Hey, now a landmark from the sixties is visible. The nursing school reminds of of the late great St. Mary's gradeschool, now defunct. Repave paradise, put up a flea market in the parking lot.

Aug 22, 2011, 4:02pm Permalink
Gabor Deutsch

Phil, you are the first person to bitch about your taxes and what it is spent for and now you are complaining about History ? I thought you were moving out of Batavia anyways. By chance were you involved with the Elks lodge ?

Aug 22, 2011, 4:39pm Permalink
Phil Ricci

I have no affiliation, Gabor. Yes I care about history. I think it's sad what this city did and still does to its historic buildings. My complaining about the taxes has nothing to do with that. And yes, as soon as I can I am moving out of the area. Have a great day.

Aug 22, 2011, 4:49pm Permalink
Bea McManis

I've been to places where I thought the grass was greener. In some cases, the job market was alive and well and extremely competitive. The housing market boomed and the infrastructure, excuse the expression, sucked.
Pennsylvania had a 'flat' tax, they found other ways to pay for services. These weren't 'taxes, but privilege fees. A fee was imposed for having a job in one location, but living in another. A fee for ambulance; fire protection; police protection; water & sewer, road use, etc. There were privilege fees for owning personal property, like your car. this was over and above your normal registration fee. The list went on and on. The upside, for this person, was living across from Valley Forge Natl. Park, and in the midst of so much of our nation's early history. The downside is the state could not keep up with the growth it enjoyed. Real estate taxes didn't seem to be used to make the situation any better. Oh, and day care, for two or more kids took one salary from a two salary family.
In California, I found living in the middle of Silicon Valley exhilerating and very, very expensive. The wages were high and so was the cost of living. At the end of the month, there wasn't much left. Yet, it could be considered Utopia for the brain. The energy one felt in that environment was incredible. The winter days were warm but the rain seemed relentless. Evenings, even in the summer, were too cold to enjoy being outside without bundling up. So my very expensive apartment, with the wonderful patio overlooking a gorgeous pool wasn't used in the evening.
In both cases, the traffic was impossible. I lived 3 miles from King of Prussia Mall. THREE miles, by car, would take a good half hour. I could walk it faster.
In California, it took a while to get used to the fact that most of the people didn't make it to work until after 11am. They weren't slackers, it was the traffic they fought on a daily basis. Many would stay late into the evening to avoid the congestion at commute time.
Batavia, after those experiences, didn't seem that bad.
I hope you find the right location for you and your family.

Aug 22, 2011, 11:08pm Permalink
Brenda Ranney

Not a stone mason but I would think that any piece of stone not matter how thick would sustain damage when dropped. Since I wasn't there I can't pass judgment would really like to.
How hard would it have been to organize a group of skilled tradesman to remove it ?
Had I known no one (Elk nor UMMC ) would step up I would tried to get a few donated hands to work on it.

Aug 23, 2011, 2:17am Permalink
Lisa Falkowski

Ted - bite me. I will stand on any soap box I please (as apparently you will too).

As far as the stone, the Elks had no control over the building. None were allowed to enter or to be involved in the process at any point. Believe me - huge efforts were made in that respect. I didn't mean that the broken stone was done on purpose, but it would have been a great piece of preserved history - even if the 2 pieces were saved (bet not though, huh) and put back together. There are several excellent local masons who may have been more than willing to assist. What's done is done - it's just a shame.

Aug 23, 2011, 2:17pm Permalink
Ted Wenzka

Lisa - bite me, hmmm. Are you serving that with chocolate syrup, whipped cream with cherry on top?

You may have not mean't it but your wording sure came across as meaning it.

Aug 23, 2011, 7:15pm Permalink
Lisa Falkowski

It's perception, Ted. I certainly could have phrased it differently, but I may have been arrested for publishing those thoughts. We aren't on the same page - and that's ok. Just wanted you to know I was bashing UMMC.

Aug 24, 2011, 7:35am Permalink
scott williams

Sorry to say the headstone was not saved I spoke with the demolition co. they tried to save it for me.Being a past exhaulted ruler I thought I would see if we could save it but it crumbled when they tried. Try to rest in peace absent brothers!!

Aug 24, 2011, 4:44pm Permalink
scott williams

Lisa please scroll down and read my post. Also so we all know this wasnt a stone it was formed concrete never would make the wrecking ball as far as not being allowed to enter building to salvage any memrobilia true but the demo. guys did retrieve
things that people asked for.This being said I have been very busy this summer and I asked to late cause the workers as helpful as they were probably would have saved it by hand..TO OUR ABSENT BROTHERS......

Aug 25, 2011, 10:27am Permalink

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