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Yorktown Lodge # 859 Order Knights of Pythias

Our History

A Modest Beginning.

March, 1980 -- in a small town in the northern edge of Westchester County, a tiny advertisement is placed in a local Pennysaver: Knights of Pythias Lodge being formed, an informational meeting to be held: contact David Peltzer. The meeting is attended by more than fifty men and their wives. Many of those present are the children of current and former Pythians. Before the meeting adjourns, more than 30 members have been signed up. In April, the excellent ritual team from Wendell Wilkie Lodge works its wonders in instructing more than 50 members at a very special Sunday morning 3-in-1 rank. The Lodge is on its way to being chartered at the June, 1980 Convention where Edward Geltzer is sworn in as Grand Chancellor.


Its first officers, led by Chancellor Commander David Peltzer, establish their first Castle Hall at the Yorktown Jewish Center (where it was to meet for six years). The lodge later met at an Elks Lodge (for two years), and then its current home - a Unitarian Meeting Hall. Within the first year Yorktown Lodge developed its own Ritual Team. This team immediately proceeded to initiate new Yorktown Lodge members. The team also travelled "across the river" in 1982 to initiate the first classes at Lakes Region Lodge. A few years later, the lodge produced its own Amplified Rank Team, led by PC Alan Kaplan. The team performed for a number of Rathbone Classes including one for the Supreme Chancellor.


One of its first major events was held in October, 1982 when Yorktown Lodge hosted its first Charivari Street Fair in Downing Park, Yorktown Heights. A day of fun, food, entertainment, and months of preparation and hard work! More than 100 vendors saw more than 10,000 people attend the largest single day event in the history of the town! Throughout the day, local groups provided entertainment, lodge members sold raffles, members and their families sold food from 5:00 AM until the early evening. The fair was chaired by PC Martin Bernstein, MD, vendors were coordinated by David Peltzer, and food was organized under the watchful eye of Brother Larry Wexler. What made this event special was the entertainment provided by various choral groups, dance clubs, magicians, puppet shows, and children's table which provided free games and prizes. The Charivari Street Fair has been held yearly up until recently.


In January, 1983, Yorktown Lodge chartered its Benevolent Association. With three successful Street Fairs completed, the Lodge was able to establish its Benevolent Association, purchase grave sites, begin a widows endowment fund and a scholarship for member's children. David Peltzer was elected as the first President of the Benevolent Association and he was succeeded in 1992 by Brother Ira Uffer. Winter weekends at Catskill Mountain hotels became an annual event. These weekends were run and hosted by Brother Ira Uffer.


Throughout the years, Yorktown Lodge has strived to give back to the community. Its donations and charity work have included Bingo games at the Veterans Hospital, yearly donations to volunteer ambulance corps, libraries, fire departments, a major contribution toward the purchase of a grand piano at a local playhouse, and medical and lifesaving equipment for a local police department.


Yorktown honored its first Chancellor Commander at its first anniversary dinner. Its fifth year saw double celebrations: a fifth anniversary dinner dance and a gala honoring three officers who earned the rank of Past Chancellor. We have celebrated our tenth year with a dinner, and most recently, we held our 20th anniversary dinner.


Yorktown Lodge Knights of Pythias # 859 * Yorktown Heights * NY * 10598