By Kris Leonhardt
Though the Loyal Order of the Moose was started in the nation’s midsection in the late 1880s as a way for local men to gather and socialize, it later developed into a type of insurance or protective community where members would attend to the welfare of other members and their families.
By the early 1900s, the organization began using dues paid to aid destitute families when the breadwinner was taken by death or became disabled. In a time when the government did not provide this type of assistance, the Moose Lodge was their only safety net.
The Stevens Point Order of the Moose was granted its charter in June of 1918, receiving charter No. 1572. One year later, the Women of the Moose organized as an auxiliary to the group.
Over the next few years, both extensions labored to raise funds for a new building, putting on dances, carnivals, and other events to raise the needed funds.
By early 1921, the Lodge had acquired the needed capital to begin the long-anticipated project. In April of that year, plans were presented to Lodge members laying out a two story structure made of concrete brick.
The first floor would host two stores, as well as club rooms and lodge rooms. The second floor would be home to a large auditorium, to be used as a dance hall and members’ gym, along with shower rooms.
The designed basement would seal its fate in future years with its configuration of bowling alleys and billiards areas.
With the blueprint accepted, plans moved forward on the construction of Steven Point’s first dedicated Moose Lodge.
In early May of 1922, the cornerstone for the brick structure was placed at the intersection of Strongs Avenue and Park Street.
On September 29 of 1922, the Lodge held its first meeting in the new facilities.
A month later, on October 22, 1922, the city welcomed dignitaries from all over the nation as the country’s latest and most modern Moose Temple was dedicated.
Unfortunately, Lodge 1572 would lose the Temple building during the Great Depression. The group would meet in various places until purchasing the property located at 745-747 Main Street following World War II.
In 1976, the City of Stevens Point would purchase the Main Street Lodge in a downtown revitalization effort and four years later, the organization would take up residence at its current location (1025 2nd Street.)
The Temple at the corner of Strong & Park would later become Cosmo Hall and today is known as Skipp’s Bowling Center. The Moose Lodge cornerstone can still be seen today.
Kris Leonhardt may be contacted by mail: PO Box 51, Marshfield, Wis., 54449 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.