Riverhead Elks hosting ‘Raise the Roof’ benefit to replace leaky roof

After nearly 100 years, the Riverhead Elks Lodge needs a new roof.

In an effort to raise money for the repairs, the club will host a “Raise the Roof” party this Saturday, May 20.

Lodge officer Gail Evans said the organization has known for a long time that the leaky roof at the East Main Street property needed attention.

“This building and the people in it help raise money for a lot of people in the community,” she said, adding that they want to maintain the building for the many other organizations in town that use it. The building, for example, is the home of the annual “Rockin’ for the Homeless” event.

“Raise the Roof” will feature live music, food for purchase and a 50/50 raffle.

Ms. Evans said the roof work, which she estimated will cost about $30,000, is just one of many repairs the building needs. She pointed to its 17 windows as another outstanding renovation project.

Elks members also volunteer their time for other simple improvements, such as painting.

Member Jack McCarthy, a retired police officer, often pitches in to lend a hand. This week, he repainted a portion of the building’s front façade and power-washed its wooden porch in preparation for re-staining.

“I enjoy doing it,” he said.

Ms. Evans said the Riverhead Elks are a close-knit group.

“Here, you know everybody and you talk to everybody,” she said. “It’s like the ‘Cheers’ bar; you walk in and everybody knows your name.”

The Riverhead Elks Lodge, built around 1920, was originally called the Riverhead Country Club. The property initially included a six-hole golf course on the east side of the club and a 12-hole course on the west side.

American Legion Post No. 273 purchased the clubhouse in 1946 and it became the Elks Lodge in 1959.

Ms. Evans said when the group reaches its fundraising goal for the new roof, she hopes to use red shingles, mirroring the original look of the building.

Saturday’s outdoor fundraiser will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. Performers will include Kerry Kearney, Yankee Rebel and Joe Hampton & the Kingpins with Southold Slim. The lodge is also accepting monetary donations and donations for raffle prizes. Tickets are $20.

“It’s a great way to get to meet people,” Ms. Evans said, adding that the Elks are always looking for new members. “We just want people to buy tickets and come and support us.”

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Photo: Elks member Jack McCarthy cleaning the porch of the Riverhead Elks Lodge on Friday. (Credit: Krysten Massa)