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The historic Asbury Park Elks Lodge 128/Charms building became another victim of oceanfront redevelopment recently by being razed even though the building was listed on Preservation New Jersey's endangered sites list and on the Monmouth County Historic Sites Inventory.

Originally built in 1914 and expanded in 1924, the four-story building, at Heck Street and Monroe Avenue, was constructed by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge 128, one of the oldest lodge's in the country.   

In the early 1940s the building was purchased by the Charms Candy Company and housed a packing plant and clerical offices. Hence; its name more common name, "The Charms" building.   

A "good faith" effort was required under the city's Waterfront Redevelopment Plan to save the building but nothing was done to prevent further deterioration and redevelopment plans prevented the individual building itself from be rehabilitated without redeveloping the entire block as well.   

The Asbury Park Historical society began a campaign to save the building, including a postcard campaign urging city officials to save the structure. However, the building was razed over a two-day period at the end of 2009.

Many prominent businessmen and political and social leaders were members of the Elks Club over the years, including bandleader Arthur Pryor, Charles Fitkin (for whom Fitkin Hospital, now Jersey Shore Medical Center, was named), Charles Jenkinson (founder of Jenkinson's Pavilion in Point Pleasant Beach) and Asbury Park Mayor Frank TenBroeck.   

The building not only originally housed the Elks' offices, but had four bowling alleys, a billiard room, a gymnasium, a barbershop, a lounge, a dining room and a smoking room.

In 1922 the Elks committed to helping children with special needs in the area and a facility staffed with doctors and nurses was provided by the lodge.   

It is still the opinion of the Asbury Park Historical Society that the old Elks lodge could have been saved if given proper attention and that the building would have provided a wonderful and historic gateway between the oceanfront and downtown areas.