Moose celebrates 100 years

In a time when it’s becoming more common to see a business shut its doors than open them, one Westside organization is celebrating its roots in the community and its plans for the future.

Moose Lodge 11, located at 1500 Demorest Road, celebrated its 100th anniversary last month.

Lodge 11 started in Columbus on Oct. 19, 1908 with 49 charter members. They held their first meetings at 198 S. High St. and then moved several times until they purchased the property on Demorest Road in 1970 where they have remained for 38 years.

Although Lodge 11 is officially the oldest Moose Lodge in Ohio, they were not the first in the state. Moose Lodge 2, the second lodge of its kind in U.S. history, was established in Cincinnati in 1889, although it faced tough times shortly after opening.

The organization experienced a great boom after its conception, followed quickly by a rapid decline. Between the years of 1888 and 1893, 15 lodges with over 1,000 members had been established. By 1906, only two lodges with 246 members remained, the Cincinnati lodge being one of the many that had ceased to exist.

In 1906, however, a resurgence of the Moose occurred when the group became a force providing protection and security to its working-class members. Three years later, Lodge 11 in Columbus began, followed by the re-emergence of Lodge 2 in 1909.

Moose Lodge 11 considers itself the mother of several other lodges in central Ohio, including lodges in Worthington, Hilliard, Whitehall and Gahanna.

They have worked with over 75 charitable organizations throughout the community during the years since they began. They have also donated time and money to many charitable causes throughout the country, including Just Say No, clothes and food for the homeless, support for several natural disasters, restoring Yellowstone National Park and rides for the elderly to and from Christmas and Easter services. They can also be seen at parades an festivals across central Ohio.

The Loyal Order of the Moose is a fraternal and service organization founded in 1888. According to the organization’s Web site, they now boast nearly 1 million members and an estimated 2,000 lodges in all 50 states and four Canadian provinces, as well as Britain and Bermuda.

The Women of the Moose was founded in 1913 and now has more than 400,000 members across the U.S. and in four Canadian provinces.

These organizations make up what is known as Moose International, an organization dedicated to caring for both the young and the old, bringing communities together and celebrating life.

While men and women join the Moose for a variety of reasons, the main endeavors  of the group remain Mooseheart and Moosehaven. Mooseheart is a 1,000-acre Illinois home and school for children in need, and Moosehaven is a 65-acre retirement community in Florida for senior members in need. Members of both retreats are given the care and support of Moose members worldwide.

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