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The Tower from 11th Street in 2007
|Architect||Leonard J. Starks|
|Architectural style(s)||Italian Renaissance|
By 1922, due to the extreme growth of the local Elks membership and the inadequacies of the then-current building, an organization, called the Sacramento Elks Hall Association, was founded to construct a new Elks temple in Sacramento.
As a result of the association's efforts, a new, 226-foot-tall, brick and steel Elks temple was constructed at the northeast corner of 11th and J streets and dedicated as the new home of Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 on June 22, 1926.
The 14-floor building, which was once recognized as the city's tallest structure, was not only a home for the Elks, but it also included about 100 hotel rooms, storefront spaces on the ground floor and a restaurant on the 14th floor.
In 1968, the 13th floor of the building became home to the newly created radio station, KZAP, which debuted on the FM dial as a free form station playing extremely vast offerings of music.
Additionally, the building once offered such amenities as a swimming pool and a steam room in the basement, an exercise room on the ground floor, a ballroom and main dining room on the second floor, a lodge room and reading room on the third floor and meeting, billiards and game rooms on the fourth floor.
Although many locals are familiar with McCormick and Schmick's Seafood Restaurant's existence on the ground floor of the building, many longtime residents of the area remember that the building once featured an entirely different restaurant, which was known as the Top of the Town.
The business, thus named for its location on the building's top floor, was known for its panoramic view of the city, its cocktail lounge and its overall attractive aesthetics and atmosphere.
Speaking about the grandness of the 11th and J Street Elks temple in 1926, Walter J. Hicks, exalted ruler of the Sacramento Elks Lodge, said, “I am not proud because we builded higher, not proud because we builded bigger, but proud because we have builded a temple to Elkdome in the city of Sacramento, which already is becoming the topic of conversation wherever Elks congregate and which before long will be instrumental in placing the name of Sacramento on the lips of nearly every Elk throughout the nation.” Due to a decrease in membership during the 1950s and 1960s, the local Elks lodge failed to produce funds for upgrades required by the city's building department.
The Elks consequently sold the building in 1972 to local developer Buzz Oates, who soon afterward joined in a business partnership with Waltz Investment, Richard Benvenutti, William Cook and Dean Unger.
Following this group's ownership, the building underwent a variety of ownerships, as it fell in and out of escrow.
This pattern continued until May 2003, when current owners Steve and Mike Ayers committed to having the building renovated through the guidance of Peter B. Dannenfelser II of Architectural Arts.
Having sold the 11th and J streets building, Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 began a new chapter in its history in the early 1970s, when it moved into its current home on Riverside Boulevard.
- Media related to Elks Tower at Wikimedia Commons
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