Moose Lodge 85

I was probably in the Moose lodge since before I can remember.  Both Mom and Pop were members there and in the 1950s it was located at Number 2 Main St. in Evansville.  It was converted from the two story Old National Bank building and had a tall lighted upright sign in front that read L.O.O.M. #85.  That stood for Loyal Order Of Moose.  It was there until around 1956 when he city wanted the property so they condemned the building

Mooseheart

Mooseheart is a residential childcare facility, located on a 1,000-acre campus 38 miles west of Chicago. The Child City is a home for children and teens in need, from infancy through high school.

Dedicated in July 1913 by the Moose fraternal organization, Mooseheart cares for youth whose families are unable, for a wide variety of reasons, to care for them.

Some have lost one or both parents; others are living in environments that are simply not conducive to healthy growth and development. Whatever the reason, the men and women of the Moose, through unparalleled generosity and volunteerism, furnish the resources necessary to care for children in need. The Moose fraternity provides children with a wholesome home-like environment and the best possible training and education.

Moose Haven

Moosehaven is an active retirement community exclusively for members of the Loyal Order of Moose. Mooshaven is located on the banks of the St. Johns River in Orange Park, Florida.  With a full range of programs and services, Moosehaven provides seniors 65 and older a comfortable and secure retirement option.

Member residents  enjoy a wide array of scheduled activities and campus, and the benefits of social interaction and support services within a residential community that has served members of the Loyal Order of Moose and Women of the Moose since 1922.

 

I remember quite a bit about the Moose being there.  The family room was separated by a wall from the bar area but I would sometimes wander back there to no complaint.  Off the bar area was another walled off room that contained several slot machines.  There was also a full service kitchen next to the family room area.  There was a large back room with the dance floor and that room was often used for events such as the kids Christmas parties.  As with the Eagles I never went to a dance at the old Moose.  There was one member who was very involved in lodge activities named Kitchel Gibson who had executive parking.  Kitchel had gotten hold of a parking meter cover bag use by the city.  It was a cloth bag that could be locked with a padlock to cover the meter and on it was written "No Parking By Order Of The Police".  When Kitchel was going to be at the Moose he would put that bag on a meter in front and lock it.  That evening he would park in the spot and remove the bag.

The moose then bought a building on South Kentucky Ave. located at the intersection of Kentucky Ave. and Waggoner Ave.  The building was smaller and on a single level.  The large front room was the dance floor with a band stage and also used for meeting and events.  In the back was the bar with no defined family area.  Kids could go to the bar and order soft drinks and snacks.  Also in that room was a kitchen that open on dance and meeting nights.  Behind the bar room was another room about the same size that was mostly used for storage and also there was a poker table for the poker games held there.

Mom was a dedicated member of The Women Of The Moose and held several offices, twice being elected Senior Regent which was the highest office there. Pop belonged to the Men Of The Moose and served different offices.  Mom was very much involved with the women and after some work she received her cap and gown which she had to go to Elkheart, Indiana to get in a ceremony.

On most Wednesday nights there was a bingo at the Moose.  Bingo night alternated between the women and the men and the prizes were different.  The men's bingo had towel and washcloth for prizes.  The winner of the game got to choose a bath towel from many solid colors and the person on each side of the winner got a wash cloth.  The women had pillow cases as the prize.  The ladies would take home pillow cases that were not sewn and sew them at home.  I had a hand in sewing those pillow cases more than once and had fun doing it.  For both bingo games the cost was ten cents per card for all night.  What made their money was the specials played after every five games.  The cards for those were paper cards used only for that game and cost more per card to play.  The prize was half pot.

Twice a year the ladies had an open meeting where all members could come and observe how their meetings went from the opening to the closing prayer and music throughout the meeting played by Ida Brush on the piano.  The meetings were just about an hour long and it was enjoyable watching Mom as Senior Regent lead the meeting.  I might add here that all the ladies meetings were formal and that was the dress.  The men wore suits and ties for their meetings.

Again twice a year the ladies had a dinner for all members at a cost per person to help raise money.  There was a main dish such as fried chicken or fish or a spaghetti dinner that was fixed in the kitchen of the Moose Lodge.  Other members signed up bring a carry in dish to round out the meal.  The men did the same a couple times a year also and we always looked forward to that night out.

In the summer there was the Moose picnic mostly held at the West Side Sportsman Club off Peerless Rd. West of Evansville.  It was and all day affair and Pop always was in charge of soft drinks.  He would order the glass bottled drinks and ice for the wash tubs that held them.  There was a selection of drinks to pick from, Coke, Orange, 7-Up, Mel-Kay (a delicious lemon drink with lemon bits in it) and Cherry Blossom.  Admission to the picnic was free to members and the soft drinks, beer and ice cream was free all day.  In the mid 1960s Pop switched from bottled soft drinks to the fountain type.  There were three drinks available then, Coke, Sprite and Orange.  Pop always needed help and I was always eager to  help pass out the drinks.

There was a small playground at the picnic that included swings, slides and a contraption that went round and round as you tried to hang on.  This thing was quickly labeled the Barf Machine.  It seemed to be a favorite of the kids who were good at putting away soft drink and ice cream all day plus what they might have had for lunch.  Lunches were available there or you could bring your own.

Smoking was allowed and more than half the members smoked.  During the meetings and at the dances at time the smoke was so thick you could barely see the other side of the room.  There was an exhaust fan in the ceiling that could be turned on and it was a few times in the evenings to help clear the smoke.  At times even some of the food there tasted like smoke as Marge in the kitchen smoked quite a bit.

Around 1970 some of the members thought they had outgrown the Kentucky Ave. building and the lodge bought some ground on Upper Mt. Vernon Rd. next to the old King's Grocery store which was next to George Koch Plant #2 where Pop worked.  A pole building was put up and there was a bar room and family room in the front.  Next was a kitchen then a dance room.  Outside there was enough room for a baseball field that Pop developed and ran.  The ball field was a good money maker for the club.  The problem was the management.

A guy named Don Wright was the secretary then and mismanaged the place into the ground.  Several people believed he was skimming money but that could never be proved.  There was however always a good band on Saturday nights and some good dinners by the ladies and men.  By this time my sister Nancy was following Mom into the Women Of The Moose and had received several awards for her service.

The downfall came one fateful night when a bartender known as Grizzly would not tell the lodge drunk, called Big Jim, he had enough to drink.  Big Jim left drunk and pulled onto Upper Mt. Vernon Rd. in front of a Volkswagon.  The impact threw a young boy out of his car seat through the windshield and onto the road.  I was at home when the call for the fire dept. came in and lived less than a mile away.  We did what we could for the boy but he could not be saved but the mother who was driving the car was saved.  The resulting law suit finished the Moose Lodge 85 for good.

Some of the people from the Moose I remember

Every year there was a Christmas party for the kids of the members.  There would be some type of entertainment program and at the end Santa (always John Lannahoe) would enter and the kids would file to Santa and would be handed a paper sack full of candy and treats.

Mannie Newman and his wife Bertha were another well established couple there.  Manny served with the Men of the Moose and Bertha belonged to the Women's organization.  They were always at the dances on Saturday nights and any other function had there.  At the dances I don't see how Manny found time to dance with Bertha as he was always running around talking and dancing and he could polka like no body's business.  You could always count on Manny to start one or more of the special dances. 

He would get a broom or a flashlight.  With the broom he would go up to a couple dancing, hand the man the broom and start dancing with his partner.  The man would the have to dance around with the broom a bit then hand it off to another man to get another dance partner.  At time Manny would use a flashlight and shine it in a man's face to trade the light for a dance partner.  These dances were well received by all.  Bertha died in 1965 and Mannie died in 1972.

The Saturday night dances at the Moose started a 9:00 and ended at midnight.  I think Mannie had a lot to do with the times.  Mannie was Jewish and had to observe his Sabbath until sundown on Saturday.  By 9:00 on Saturdays the sun was down and Mannie could dance.

Marge Lawson was a Women's member and her husband was Kenny.  I didn't see them much at the dances but they were usually there on meeting nights and always at the picnic.  They never had any children and mom told me that when they got married Marge's mother to her to never have kids because she didn't want any grand kids.  They both died on night because of fumes from a gas space heater.

Red (Wallace) and Marge Phipps were longtime friends of mom and pop.  For a while they rented the house on Mt. Vernon Ave, where a strip mall is now, from pop then later rented the Illinois St. house from mom.  Red was the main bartender at the Moose and Marge usually ran the kitchen there.  They had a son, Wally, who grew up in the Moose.  Red died in 1967 and Marge died in 2002.

Charlie and Ida Brush also went to St. Paul's Church so I knew them and their boys for a long time.  Ida did the piano playing for the Women's meetings and Charley at one time was Governor of the men's part.  They didn't sit at our table during the dances but were there often and always at the picnics with their boy.  Larry Brush was the oldest and my age.  Dennis was next and was Nancy's age.  There were two younger boys, Donnie and Rex, that I don't remember much of.  Charlie died in 1986 and Ida died in 1996.  Larry who was my age died in 2016 and Dennis died in 2013.

Probably Mom and Pop's best friends at the Moose were Joe and Theda Wanders.  The friendship went far back and I have photos of Joe in the Troc bowling team.  They always sat at the table with Mom and Pop on Saturday nights.  The tables surrounded the dance floor and there were two tables together and had eight chairs.  Theda and Joe lived on St. Joe Ave. in Evansville across from where now is White Oaks apartments.  They had one daughter, Dorothy that was grown and away from home when I knew them.  Joe worked for Sterling Beer and Theda was a housewife.

Joe smoked Raleigh cigarettes and there was a coupon on each pack you could collect and trade in for items.  Theda saw one of the items was a couch that she liked and wanted to save coupons for.  She then started smoking so they could get more coupons.  At the Moose I would go around to the tables at nights we were there and hunt for those coupons to give to them.  After a year or two they had enough coupons for the new couch.  Joe died in 1978 and Theda died in 1986.

 

 

Dad's first wife
Saeed Ajmal Stores
 

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