Loyal Order of Moose

A Note from the Chief Executive Officer

One of my favorite summer foods is a BLT with a thick slice of a freshly picked garden tomato. So juicy that it soaks the bread a little and runs out the corners of your mouth. I can almost taste it as I write! Now that red ripe tomato didn’t just magically appear one day in our garden. First the ground had to be prepared; tilling, adding fertilizer and organic material. Rows were marked out, seed purchased and planted, consistent watering, plenty of sunshine and lots of weeding took place. There is a lot of time and prep work that goes into those tomato plants, but the hard work is worth every savory bite – YUM!

Our Moose Fraternity grew again this year – so much so that there wasn’t any suspense as the final days of the membership campaign year wound down. It was as if someone sprinkled our lodges with Miracle Grow TM! Over 800 lodges and 24 Associations showed a gain in active membership this year. Twenty days prior to the close of the campaign year the lodge’s board of officers didn’t say, “We better start thinking of how we are going to attract new members and reconnect with former ones.” Our incredible Sponsors also didn’t respond with a, “Hey, I better get busy talking to my friends, co-workers, and family about joining our lodge.” Those actions and conversations started at the beginning of the campaign year (May 1st), and they involved a massive amount of social activities at the lodge and heart of the community efforts outside the lodge. The membership ground had to be prepared, watered and even weeded to keep the lodge strong and flourishing. Bottom line is that membership growth is a result of an enormous amount of planning, followed by tireless effort devoted to carrying out those initiatives.

Just as I am asking you, I have to ask myself, “What is my personal plan to help The Moose grow even more this year?” The children at Mooseheart and our seniors at Moosehaven are counting on us. The soil is fertile and the reward is great – now let’s grow our membership for a third year in a row. Our bacon is cooked and the bread is toasted; now to head outside and pick that tomato! God Bless!

If you have a concern or idea you’d like to share, use our online form: “Tell the Chief Executive Officer.”

Loyal Order of Moose/Women of the Moose

  • Loyal Order of Moose for men, founded in 1888 in Louisville, Kentucky; re-organized in 1906 under the leadership of future U.S. Sen. James J. Davis.
  • Women of the Moose, founded in 1913 as an auxiliary organization, now considered an integral unit of the Order. Now part of One Moose.
  • Nonsectarian and nonpolitical
  • Roughly 2,000 lodges/chapters in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, and total membership of nearly 900,000.
  • International headquarters at Mooseheart, Illinois, USA.


  • Founded on July 27, 1913.
  • Established to provide a home for children of members of the Order who have lost one or both parents and other qualified orphaned or dependent children; since 1994, applications welcomed from ANY family in need.
  • Located in the beautiful Fox River Valley, 38 miles west of Chicago.
  • Consists of approximately 1,000 campus-like acres upon which 115 buildings have been constructed.
  • A completely self-contained community known throughout North America as “The Child City.”
  • Mooseheart has its own bank, power plant, schools, church, health center, auditorium, Post Office, stadium, recreational buildings.
  • More than 11,000 children have resided at Mooseheart since 1913.
  • Current student population is about 250.
  • Children live with Family Teachers, often husband and wife in individual buildings designed to emulate single-family homes.
  • Mooseheart children are given a complete academic education as accredited by the Illinois Department of Education, from kindergarten through high school;  plus vocational training, and complete religious instruction in whatever faith prevailed in their families before coming to Mooseheart.
  • Mooseheart was one of the pioneers in the field of vocational training at the high school level. Mooseheart High School students today have a variety of trades from which to choose, including individually tailored co-op programs with either campus work functions and area businesses.
  • Mooseheart’s magnificent House of God, built in 1950 at a cost of $2 million, is one of the world’s finest examples of interdenominational church architecture.
  • A resident Protestant minister, and an attending Catholic priest, provide religious instructions and conduct religious services at Mooseheart; children of other faiths attend services in neighboring communities.
  • Anyone planning to take a trip to Chicago should be encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to visit Mooseheart. Please call first at (630) 859-2000 ext. 3601.


  • Founded in 1922 , known as the “City of Contentment.”
  • Established to provide a home for dependent aged Moose men and women and their spouses.
  • Located in Orange Park, Florida, on the St. John’s River, 15 miles south of Jacksonville.
  • It is a community comprising several single-story residences, a LifeCare Center, a state-of-the-art assisted-living complex completed in 2002, indoor pool and fitness center, community building, commissary, and shops, and a chapel for all faiths.
  • Residences are designed expressly for the convenience and comfort of seniors. Each residence has its own kitchen and dining room.
  • A Moosehaven resident is offered the opportunity for meaningful work (appropriate to their own physical abilities), and receives an allowance each month.
  • Complete facilities are provided in the Michigan Recreation Building and New York Healthplex to supplement outdoor recreation activities such as fishing, boating, shuffleboard, picnics and trips to nearby sporting and entertainment events as well as points of interest.
  • More than 3,000 aged senior Moose men and women have been admitted to the “City of Contentment.”
  • Present population is about 400.
  • Anyone planning a trip to northeast Florida should be encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to visit Moosehaven. Just call (904) 278-1210 first

The Loyal Order of Moose is a fraternal and service organization founded in 1888. With nearly 650,000 men in roughly 1,600 Lodges in 49 states and four Canadian provinces, plus Great Britain. Along with other units of Moose International, the Loyal Order of Moose supports the operation of Mooseheart Child City & School, a 1,000-acre community for children and teens in need, located 40 miles west of Chicago; and Moosehaven, a 70-acre retirement community for its members near Jacksonville, FL. Additionally, members of the Moose conduct approximately $70 million worth of community service (counting monetary donations and volunteer hours worked) annually. The Loyal Order of Moose organizes and participates in numerous sports and recreational programs, in local Lodges and Family Centers in the majority of 44 State and Provincial Associations, and on a fraternity-wide basis.  Lodges across the Fraternity are known for creating life-long bonds between members through activities and a shared concern for children in need, seniors and the communities in which they live.

Dr. John Henry Wilson
Founder 1888
The Loyal Order of Moose was founded in a doctor’s living room in Louisville, Kentucky, in the spring of 1888.  Dr. John Henry Wilson organized the order as a place for men to get together to socialize.  By the early 1890s several lodges had been formed in cities close to Louisville, such as, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and small towns in Kentucky and Indiana. 
However, the order languished until a bright, energetic government employee, James J. Davis, from Elwood, Indiana, who believed that he could build the organization’s membership was given the challange and the title–Supreme Organizer.  Membership soared when the organization offered an insurance program with membership dues of $5 and $10 for men who if they became disabled or died would provide a “safety net” to their widows and children.
When James Davis joined in 1906, membership was a spartan 247 members.  With his membership drive, the organization had grown to nearly a half a million members in over a thousand lodges.
James J. Davis
Founder: Mooseheart & Moosehaven
“No man stands so straight and tall as when he stoops to lift up a child”
James J. Davis
Past Director General, Loyal Order of Moose
U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, December 2, 1930 to January 3, 1945
U.S. Secretary of Labor, March 5, 1921 to November 30, 1930

The Birth of Mooseheart   After careful consideration of numerous sites, the Moose Supreme Council in late 1912 approved the purchase of what was known as the Brookline Farm–more than 1,000 acres along the then-dirt surfaced Lincoln Highway, between Batavia and North Aurora on the west side of the Fox River, about 40 miles west of Chicago. Ohio Congressman John Lentz, a member of the Supreme Council, conceived the name “Mooseheart” for the new community: “This,” he said, “will always be the place where the Moose fraternity will collectively pour out its heart, its devotion and sustenance, to the children of its members in need.”   So it was on a hot summer Sunday, July 27, 1913, that several thousand Moose men and women (for the Women of the Moose received formal recognition that year as the organization’s official female component) gathered under a rented circus tent toward the south end of the new property and placed the cornerstone for Mooseheart. The first 11 youngsters in residence were present, having been admitted earlier that month; they and a handful of workers were housed in the original farmhouse and a few rough-hewn frame buildings that had been erected that spring.   Addressing Need on the Other End of Life: Moosehaven   Mooseheart’s construction proceeded furiously over the next decade, but it only barely kept pace with the admissions that swelled the student census to nearly 1,000 by 1920. (Mooseheart’s student population would reach a peak of 1,300 during the depths of the Great Depression; housing was often “barracks” style – unacceptable by today’s standards. Mooseheart officials now consider the campus’ ultimate maximum capacity as no more than 500.) Still, by the Twenties, Davis and his Moose colleagues thought the fraternity should do more–this time for aged members who were having trouble making ends meet in retirement. (A limited number of elderly members had been invited to live at Mooseheart since 1915.)   They bought 26 acres of shoreline property just south of Jacksonville, Florida, and in the fall of 1922, Moosehaven, the “City of Contentment,” was opened, with the arrival of its first 22 retired Moose residents. Moosehaven has since grown to a 63-acre community providing a comfortable home, a wide array of recreational activities and comprehensive health care to more than 400 residents. As the Moose fraternity grew in visibility and influence, so did Jim Davis. President Warren Harding named him to his Cabinet as Secretary of Labor in 1921, and Davis continued in that post under Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover as well. In November 1930, Davis, a Republican, won election to the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, and he served there with distinction for the next 14 years. As both Labor Secretary and Senator, Davis was known as a conservative champion of labor, who fought hard for the rights of unions–but felt that the workingman should expect no “handouts” of any sort. In the Senate, it was Davis who spearheaded passage of landmark legislation to force building contractors to pay laborers “prevailing” union-level wages in any government construction work. The law bore his name: the Davis-Bacon Act.
 The “Proof of Our Value”: Community Service For a quarter-century the Moose had directed its efforts almost completely toward Mooseheart and Moosehaven; now, with discharged WWII Veterans driving Moose membership to nearly 800,000 members, Director General Giles set out to broaden the organization’s horizons. In 1949 he conceived and instituted what was to become the third great Moose endeavor of the modern era, the Civic Affairs program (later renamed Community Service). Giles explained his rationale: “Only three institutions have a God-given right to exist in a community, the home, the church and the school. The rest of us must be valuable to the community to warrant our existence, and the burden of proof of our value is on us.” The Community Service program has since flourished into a myriad of humanitarian efforts on the local Lodge level, as well as fraternity-wide projects such as the Moose Youth Awareness Program , in which bright teenagers go into elementary schools, daycare centers and the like to communicate an anti-drug message to 4- to 9-year olds.

Famous Loyal Order of Moose Members

Comments welcomed. All members and activity groups are are invited to send pictures, info, and article’s they would like to see posted to davegardner@dgmoose.net

The Loyal Order of Moose is a private organization. All activities and events referred to on this Web site and in the Moose newsletter are available to members in good standing and their qualified guests only. This Web site is for informational purposes with proprietary information intended for members only. General information is available to the public at large, but should not be construed to be a solicitation for membership. This Web site is an initiative of Downers Grove, IL. Moose Lodge No. 1535 and is not sanctioned by the Loyal Order of Moose, Moose International or any subsidiary thereof. All logos, trademarks and servicemarks pertaining to the Loyal Order of Moose and/or its programs or degrees are copyrighted © by Moose International, Inc., Mooseheart, IL.