|May 3, 1958
Our founder was Danny D'amico, Past State President. We were very active those first few yeas. In fact we were also very brave because we hosted our first grand convention in 1965, after just 7 years.
We bought the property we are on now. There were three renters in the back and two renters in the main building. We took over one of the spaces for a meeting hall that measured 27 x 45. It was small, but it was our home. We continued to have dinner dances at various locations. We had to remain active because we had a mortgage to pay.
Would you believe we hosted our second grand convention?
Because of the hard working members of our Anaheim Lodge, we had a mortgage burning party.
We took over all of our rentals and decided to go for it. We remodeled with a building that measured over 5000 square feet with a capacity of over 300. Our members were all enthused because we no longer were looking for locations to hold our dinner dances. Of course a larger hall meant larger expenses and re-financing meant bigger mortgage payments.
The third time is the charm! We hosted our third grand convention and after all this time the delegates still talk about the great time they all had here in Anaheim.
The City of Anaheim starts plans to widen Anaheim Blvd. They start to acquire properties along north Anaheim Blvd. The street is torn up and we can't use our front entrance. The wedding parties that were booked had to use our back entrance, and some even cancelled out completely. It was a challenge, but our Anaheim members are survivors. The more we were challenged, the stronger we got!
Because of the widening of Anaheim Blvd., we lost over 20' frontage from our building. This meant remodeling again, reducing the capacity to our present size of 200. Because we were smaller, it affected our rentals. People wanted a larger hall.
To supplement our income because of our loss of rentals, through the efforts of Chuck Armato, Ray Bradley, and Mike Arra, we started having bingo here every Sunday. For the next 5 years a hand full of loyal members gave up their Sundays with their families to volunteer their services. Monies earned from bingo, dinner dances, and rentals have enabled us to support our local charities:
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Anaheim, Stanton, Placentia, and Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley
- We give at least three scholarships per year to deserving high school students in Orange County
- Through the Salvation Army we supply needy families with food and clothing
- We have provided food for the homeless shelters in our area
- We have contributed to toys for tots
- We supplied turkeys to a local restaurant who serves over 10,000 Thanksgiving dinners each year
- Many, many others
Today and Beyond
As we all know, as time goes by, things happen and we lose many of our dear brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, due to shrinking numbers, etc., we had to give up our building, but we still remain. The ones that hold the lodge dear to their hearts are still working to keep our Lodge as successful as it has always been. Today the charter members that remain show their children and grandchildren that the Italia heritage is very important to all of us by keeping the Lodge family close.
The Anaheim Lodge members have always been a proud group of people who love their Italian heritage and want to pass it on to the youth, the future leaders of the Anaheim Lodge. Last but not least, the only way to keep a lodge successful is to work hard and always remember these three words:
Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity!