The always-active Allegheny Elks Lodge No. 339 sits in Pittsburgh along the north shore of the Allegheny River, at the point where it joins the Monongahela to form the Ohio River. The Allegheny Elks Lodge, rather than having its name taken from the nearby river, was named for the fact that it is situated in what was known at the time as Allegheny City, and is now the North Side of Pittsburgh. Allegheny City became a Borough in April of 1828, and was elevated to Third Class City in April of 1840. It was annexed by the City of Pittsburgh in 1907. Today's pre-packaged ground coffee was developed in Allegheny City by the Arbuckle Brothers in the early 1860's; and most of the cannons used by the Union Army in the east were cast in Allegheny City.
On April 9, 1896, Allegheny Elks Lodge No. 339, was instituted with 103 charter members. The charter was held open until May 1, 1896, when the number of members was increased to 174. By the end of the second year the membership had grown to 591. In 1906, the order to establish the Pennsylvania State Elks Association was put forth by District Deputies George W. Stine of Lebanon Lodge No. 631, Fred C. Hand of Scranton Lodge No. 123, John Frederick Austin of Corry Lodge No. 769 and Allegheny Lodge 339's own H.P. Staving.
The Allegheny Elks Lodge progressed without any problems until March 15, 1924, the day our lodge quarters and club room were destroyed by fire. After several years spent in temporary quarters, Allegheny Lodge was able to build a home and celebrate its dedication on March 5, 1926.
The first large scale remodeling of our present Lodge facility took place in 1938 when extensive changes were made, but by 1944 the mortgage on the building was paid up, and at an outing attended by 600 members, Brother Charles C. Cutler, one of the oldest living charter members, was given the privilege of burning the mortgage. In 1946, another remodeling took place which could make good our boast of having one of the finest Lodge Homes in Elkdom. In keeping with the progress of the North Side, in our sixty-fifth year, the Allegheny Elks Lodge again undertook a complete remodeling of the social quarters, and on December 23, 1961, our beautiful Allegheny Room was dedicated, signaling the start of the anniversary celebration. In the meantime, each succeeding administration of the Allegheny Elks Lodge has done only their best to continue the improvements, and even as you read this there are changes being planned that will certainly improve the physical aspects of our property.
Our Lodge was well represented in World War I, and again in World War II, a conflict in which almost 400 of our members served. During the Second World War our Lodge members purchased U.S. War Bonds in the total amount of $55,000; and in the Korean Conflict and Vietnam, the Allegheny Lodge again contributed its share of volunteers and monies in the never ending search for peace in this world of strife. Our members made regular donations of blood during the Korean crisis, allowing the Elks nationwide to donate more than 600,000 pints of the life-saving liquid to our troops in South Korea.
On a local level, our Flag Day observance has been a community event since 1909, and another one of our civil accomplishments to which we point with pride is the successful program we carried out in 1959, an effort made in concert with the Tuberculosis League of Pittsburgh.
Our lovely Allegheny Elks Lodge Ladies Auxiliary contributed greatly over the years giving of their time and monies to our lodge programs, the veterans in the hospitals, and the upkeep of our kitchen. To them we will be ever grateful. The members of the Ladies Auxiliary were invited to regular Elks membership in the 1990s.
At the Allegheny Elks Lodge we are proud of our involvement in the Pennsylvania Elks Major Project, helping those with Cerebral Palsy and other developmental disorders. In 1962 the Pennsylvania Elks Association adopted as its major project the treatment of Cerebral Palsy victims, either in the home or at special centers. By 1964 the ambitious program called for mobile units driven by trained therapist nurses, skilled practitioners who would either instruct the parents in home care of the afflicted, or else transport the victims to the centers for treatment. Today, we have 21 nurses who cover all 67 Pennsylvania counties and act as advocates while knowing exactly where to obtain services needed by the Elks clients. The members of the Allegheny Elks Lodge have always responded wholeheartedly to the call for funds for this program and, in addition to placing very high on the state association for giving each year, we also purchased a van to be used as one of the first mobile units. Thus, the Allegheny Elks Lodge No. 339 was cited for that little effort that went "above and beyond!"
The Allegheny Elks Lodge Youth Activities program over the years have put many smiles on the faces of our kids of the Lodge as well as those of our community; and we have even built special ramps to allow the children from the nearby Conroy School special education center to experience the fun of bowling. While one group, each individual assisted by a teacher or an Allegheny Lodge member, bowls, the other is enjoying lunch in the dining room and this allows everyone to have the attention needed to ensure that they have a good time.
Our Student Aid program has assisted many deserving young people realize their ambitions. Thanks to the dedication of all our brothers who served on our Christmas Charities Committee many in our community have enjoyed a joyous and merry Christmas.
In our almost 120 years as an Elks Lodge, we have had our lean years and our prosperous ones. The bitter winds of discord have whistled about us, because after all, we are human. But we have stood the test of time and adversity because throughout the years, Allegheny No. 399 has been blessed by the number of loyal members who have served their beloved lodge, often unheralded and unsung, to their utmost ability. On the occasion of our 100th birthday, we were proud to acknowledge with humble gratitude our debt to all those who have gone before us, who have left us such high standards to aspire to.
To our present membership and to our future brothers: may we always live up to our motto, "The faults of our brothers we write upon the sand, their virtues upon the tablets of love and memory." With the Allegheny Elks Lodge regular membership currently standing around 400 members, and continuing to grow, we are hopeful that one day it will again reach the membership pinnacle we once enjoyed. But no matter what happens, our devoted members are eagerly looking forward to the next 120 years of serving the residents of the Metropolitan Pittsburgh area.
These Elks community programs include our Home Service Nurses who make consulting visitations to the homes of persons with a variety of developmental disorders; Cerebral Palsy, MS, MD, Spina Bifida, Downs Syndrome, Epilepsy and more. There is NEVER a charge for these services and we have no other criteria than NEED!
Our Hoop Shoot allows city children a chance to make a mark as an athlete, and our Scholarship Program through the B.P.O.E. gives away more scholarships, worth more money, than any other entity except the U.S. Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The latter scholarship is available to all Pittsburgh area seniors and the applications are found in all High School Guidance Counselor's offices after November 1st each year. These grants range from $5000.00 a year for four years to $1000.00 a year for the four years in college. There is also a varying number of one-time stipends awarded to Pennsylvania students through the money disbursed by the Elks National Foundation.
Our Drug Awareness Poster Contest allows kids in grades four, five and six to express themselves on the subject of substance abuse, and the posters and essays are all eligible for prizes on a statewide basis.
Our motto for Veterans reads "So long as there are Veterans in our hospitals, the Elks will never forget them" and at the Allegheny Elks Lodge we never have nor ever will. We pay visits to Veterans in the several Pittsburgh district VAMC's and to those now in private nursing facilities as well as having groups invited to the Lodge for dinners and entertainment.
Perhaps you'd like more information about the Allegheny Elks Lodge #339 and what we do for our town, our county, our state and our nation, if so, please feel free to call us at area code 412-321-1834.