Elks Veterans Memorial Building Who Loves It (1)
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Address: 2750 N Lakeview Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Phone: 773-755-4700
Website: www.elks.org/memorial
Landmarks Imposing building close to the lakefront.

    
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Chicago's Elks Veterans Memorial Building
Posted by:  Sarah Enelow

Though it was renovated this spring, few know that the Elks have their National Memorial (and Headquarters) in Chicago. You may never walk by this stately building, which sits opposite Lincoln Park, but you might have zoomed past it in a bus many times. It reminds me of Ulysses S. Grant's tomb in New York with its grand columns, muscular sculptures, and incredible dome. The Elks basement has a few medals, letters, and miniature parade floats in glass cases, and there's something about those relics that feels a little haunted... You may have no connection to, or interest in, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, but the building itself is free to explore and it's a surprise worth seeking.

Photo:  Sarah Enelow
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Elks Veterans Memorial Building
Posted by:  William Moy

The Elks Veterans Memorial Building is a monument with two identities. Passerbyers in this active corner of Lincoln Park will notice the dry neoclassical exterior of this centralized domed structure, which is vaguely reminiscent of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC. The imposing doors of the entrance appear to be perpetually closed; but ring the door bell, and someone will gladly welcome you inside. Architect Egerton Swartwout designed this building in 1926 as a war memorial and headquarters for the Elks fraternal order. In contrast to its monochromatic exterior, the interiors are lavishly festooned with fancy marbles, colorful murals, and gilded statues. The central Rotunda takes its visual cues from the Pantheon in Rome with its coffered dome and eyeball-like covered oculus. The Reception Room is akin to a royal hall with a full complement of chandeliers, art glass windows, and paintings on the ceilings and walls. It is a complete surprise to experience such ostentatious spaces in the middle of Chicago. The lower level is a bit more sedate with displays of flags, medals, old photographs, and assorted Elks paraphernalia.

Photo:  William Moy
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