San Francisco Elks Unveil Renovated Post Street Building Balcony

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“Many people tell us that we are the best-hidden gem of the city,” he said. “People walk by here every day and think that this is a hotel and restaurant, and they don’t know we exist.”

His hope is that the restored balcony and the Elks’ signature on it attract notice and ultimately help revive membership growth. Already, he says, members represent a wide socio-economic swath of the city from professionals to business people to police officers and working-class union members. He counts his own diverse heritage as a plus, too, in a culturally and ethnically rich city such as San Francisco.

Nationally, there are more than 850,000 Elks members and 2,000 lodges. The Elks National Foundation contributes millions of dollars annually to college scholarships, giving 500 four-year grants in 2012. In California, dozens of chapters turn their attention to veterans and children with disabilities, raising $3 million last year for treatments such as speech therapy, leg braces and vision screening, he said.

“Elks are American citizens who want to save its great values; who love others and want to make sure they are healthy and happy; and who love life and want to contribute to it as well as share it,” says the California-Hawaii Elks Association on its Web site. On a recent Thursday afternoon, the handful of members eating and drinking at the San Francisco lodge’s bar—chatting and gaining an occasional eyeful of a huge television screen— mostly just seemed to be having a good time.

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