Refurbished Bronze Elk Statue Returns To Lake View Cemetery

The bronze elk statue, which was removed in late Feburary for refurbishing and repairs, was returned to its home at the cemetery’s “Elks’ Rest” lot earlier this month. P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti

Recent visitors to Lake View Cemetery in Jamestown may have noticed the reappearance of a longtime denizen to its natural habitat.

The bronze elk statue situated near the front of the cemetery along Lakeview Avenue was recently reinstalled in its home, officially referred to as the “Elks’ Nest,” where it is expected to remain for decades to come.

For nearly a century, the bronze elk statue has called the lot adjacent to Lake View Cemetery’s main gate and office home. Owned by the local Elks Club, the portion of the lot on which the elk statue was originally placed was purchased July 6, 1920, by Louis Heineman — a philanthropic Elk who is now buried to the right of the statue.

Earlier this year, the statue was removed from his base and shipped to the Penn Yan foundry of Dexter Benedict, the man who crafted the bronze statue of Robert H. Jackson that now sits outside the local learning center that bears the latter’s name. After being exposed nearly a century of winters and inclement weather, the statue had previously shown visible signs of wear and damage for years.

According to Samuel Genco Jr., Lake View Cemetery superintendent and secretary, the decision to have the statue restored was long overdue, but is a welcome step taken toward ensuring another long residence by the statue upon its return.

“This was a joint decision between the cemetery and members of the Elks Club,” Genco said at the time of the statue’s removal from the cemetery. “We had concerns about the statue because it was getting to the point where it was becoming a danger to visitors. It could’ve been knocked over rather easily, and was in the kind of condition that made us worry that someone could be hurt if they tried to do something to it.”

Chief among the restoration to the statue, Genco said, was the reinstallation of the statue’s original antlers — which had fallen or been broken off and had been sitting in cemetery storage for over 50 years. Additionally, he said the statue has been reinforced with new rods and supports in the legs, making it more sturdy.

“We’re expecting it to, hopefully, last another 100 years,” he said.

Genco added that he has been in discussions with the local Elks Club about holding a rededication ceremony; however, an official date and time have yet to be decided.

After the statue was originally installed in 1920, the lot upon which it stands was dedicated the following year, on June 1, 1921. The dedication ceremony began with a procession from the Elks Club rooms, at the corner of Third and North Main streets, to the cemetery. A local band under the direction of Gilden R. Broadberry, who is now buried on the lot, led the procession. Many prominent Elks from all over New York State attended, and several of them spoke at the cemetery.

The bronze elk statue was made in Salem, Ohio, by the Mullens Body Corporation. It was attached to a granite base, which remains in place. The statue is hollow, and weighs about 200 to 300 pounds.

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