82-10 Queens Boulevard
Ballinger Co.

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was established in 1868 in New York City, following the increase in popularity of fraternal orders at the time, especially after the Civil War. They founded the Queensboro Lodge No. 878 in 1903, and held meetings at Lodge 828 in Long Island City until 1923, when they erected this Club House.

This Italian Renaissance Revival structure was designed by the Ballinger Company, a firm primarily known for its industrial and commercial buildings and notable for its expertise in steel-reinforced concrete design. Inside the five-story building and its annex were a swimming pool, a gym, an Aztec-themed 700-seat theater, 28 guest rooms, a banquet hall, three bars, smoking rooms and a six-lane bowling alley. The design received critical praise for its exotic interiors and for its ability to provide members with a private environment while simultaneously hosting non-members on a regular basis within the same building.

Known for its devotion to charity and to community service, membership at the Queensborough Lodge peaked during the 1960’s with 6,600 members, which included businessmen, professionals, and politicians, among others. By 2000, national and local membership had decreased dramatically, and in order to offset costs incurred by taxes and maintenance, the Elks began to rent out the dining hall for special events and leased out individual rooms for regular use by social and religious groups. In 2001, Elks officials decided to sell the building to the New Life Christian Fellowship, a Korean church organization. At the same time, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission acted to designate the building as an Individual Landmark, a move which the building owners supported. The Elks Lodge and Hall is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.