The History of Coventry West Greenwich Lodge #2285
In the summer of 1963, a group of men held a meeting at the Showboat restaurant on Tiogue Avenue in Coventry, and received the Charter for the Coventry-West Greenwich Elks. This nucleus of men elected Albert Izzi as the first Exalted Ruler. Many fundraising activities were held in order to raise the down payment for our future Lodge.
Working with a tight budget, the Elks started looking for a permanent home. The search was narrowed down to two possibilities: acquiring the Mishnock Inn or the Nooseneck Inn. The decision was made to purchase the Mishnock Inn in 1963 from Albert and William Izzi for the Elks Lodge. A small band of Elks marched from Carlson's Mapleroot Inn to the site of the present Lodge, and conducted a flag raising ceremony with a borrowed flag. The wooded area behind the Lodge was cleared by the Izzi brothers, and Jack Lovegren built a barbecue. Although the Lodge was small, with a dance floor the size of a postage stamp, many good times were shared and the turnout for all parties was large.
In 1974, a new addition was added to the old building and completed in September of that year. The District Deputy Visitation was held in the new addition. One week later, an electrical fire in the ceiling burned down the entire building. This fire occurred during the term of Exalted Ruler Ted Hall. All the Elks pitched in to salvage what could be little that could be saved. Lodge Secretary Bert Cole managed to salvage some records.
The next Lodge meeting was held at the Coventry Community Center to discuss options. The body decided to rent the Mishnock Roller Rink from the Albro family to be used as a temporary home. Exalted Ruler Cloyde Desgranges (1975) had the responsibility to make the roller rink usable. Exalted Ruler Cloyde Desgranges, PER Fred Cavanaugh and PER Robert Aldrich wrapped the building in plastic to keep out the cold. Many successful parties were held at this temporary facility while the new Lodge was being built.
Brother Art Debuc was the "Clerk of the Works" and was at the construction site constantly as Perotti Construction built the new facility. Exalted Ruler Howie Wheeler moved into the new building with the help of many Elks in 1976. In February 1977, another fire occurred in the rear storage room and caused $60,000 worth of damage. Exalted Ruler Wheeler designated his Leading Knight Fred Cavanaugh as the Rebuilding Chairman. Along with the help of Joe Perotti, the building was repaired in just six weeks. The new kitchen and rear offices were constructed of cinder blocks rather than wood. No more fires! Exalted Ruler Fred Cavanaugh was installed in the newly rebuilt Lodge just one week after it was completed.
Over the next 30 years, the Membership struggled with moving into the upper level of our Lodge. After a great deal of work by many dedicated Elks, the Lodge relocated into the upper level of the building in 2007 under Exalter Ruler Jerry Halleck. The Elks also became landlords in 2007 when the lower level of the Lodge was leased to Perspectives, a private agency whose purpose is to help people with disabilities participate in and contribute to community life.
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Chartered Coventry-West Greenwich Lodge #2285 on July 10, 1963. The Lodge has served the communities of Coventry and West Greenwich continuously since that date.
Lodge Meeting Nights:
The Lodge meets in regular session the 2nd and 4th Wednesday nights at 7:00pm.
(Exceptions: In July and August, Lodge meets on the 4thWednesday only; and in December the Lodge meets the 2nd Wednesday only).
Our Lodge is honored to have produced a Grand Lodge Officer
· Honorable Joseph H. A. St. Jean, Grand Tiler (2007-2008)
Our Lodge has produced four State Presidents
· Ernest Faiola (1986-1987)
· Joseph H. A. St. Jean (1987-1988)
· John Lamantia (1998-1999)
· John Kirkconnell (2002-2003)
Our Lodge has produced four State Elks of the Year
· Ernest Faiola (1981-1982)
· John Giblin (1986-1987)
· Jack Philips (2003-2004)
· Joseph H. A. St. Jean (2005-2006)
Our Lodge has produced nine District Deputy Grand Exalted Rulers
· Harold Waltonen
· Fred Cavanaugh
· Richard Provencher
· Joseph H. A. St. Jean
· Leo Blanchette
· John Lamantia
· John Kirkconnell
· John Forte
· Jerry Halleck
Our Lodge has also produced numerous Grand Lodge Committeemen and State Officers.
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