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“Mother Aerie One” lands in Maple Leaf – 113 years later

Posted by Mike on April 14th, 2011

By Katie Melton

One hundred and thirteen years after its founding, the original aerie of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles is moving to Maple Leaf.

Mother Aerie One is now at 8201 Lake City Way N.E., in a building currently undergoing some extensive remodeling, but which will provide the members with a large social room, a meeting room, offices and a location to display artifacts from the original aerie at Morgan’s Shipyard on the Seattle waterfront.

“The Fraternal Order of the Eagles (F.O.E.) was founded as a club to do good things for society,” said Dan Kerege, president of Mother Aerie One, who has been a member for 18 years.

The Order was established in 1898 by six rival theater owners, who met to discuss a musicians’ strike. According to the aerie’s website: “After deciding what to do on that issue, they decided to bury the hatchet and form an organization dubbed ‘The Order of Good Things.”

The idea was that F.O.E. members would “make life more desirable by lessening its ills and promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope,” reads the mission statement.

So, what prompted the move to Maple Leaf?

“We wanted to move to a more family-oriented neighborhood. We found this building up here in Maple Leaf and the neighborhood, the building, all seemed to be a perfect fit,” said Kerege.

The meeting room will also be available for rental space if other communal organizations need a place to convene.

“We’re going to try to work our way into a soft opening in the next couple weeks,” said Marc Eisberner, former president of the Mother Aerie.

The F.O.E. is a community-focused group, which is why the relocation to Maple Leaf seemed ideal. “We’re a social club, we bring people together. We raise money for charities, too,” Kerege said.

The national charity for the Eagles is the Diabetes Research Center at the University of Iowa. The Mother Aerie specifically sponsors a girls’ drill team, the Shooting Stars, right here in Seattle.

The Eagles differ from other social clubs simply by the charities they fundraise for. Along with diabetes research, the Eagles fundraise for cancer, child abuse and heart conditions, to name a few.

In order to join the F.O.E., you must be sponsored by another Eagle for application. The Eagles take pride in their slogan, “Every member owes at least one new member to his Aerie each year.” Once a member, you have the opportunity to work through the rankings to hold positions in the group.

As for the women, don’t be fooled by the title, “fraternal.” Ladies can join the Eagles auxiliary, and have similar membership policies. Plus, the Eagles lay claim to helping  create Mother’s Day in this country. .

“A member of the Eagles was a driving force to get Mother’s Day passed through as an actual holiday,” said Eisberner.

The Eagles recently renamed the first aerie to “Mother Aerie One,” signifying its originality. There are close to 4,000 other Aeries nationally, and all are community focused, just like the founding aerie.

“When I first started, we had 2,000 Eagles members,” said Faye Barnett, a 15-year-long member of the women’s auxiliary. “Now, it’s down to 509. If you include the women, it would be 717 members. And we’re waiting to reopen (the aerie), because then membership will get back up.”

“Our national organization has said that police, firefighters and EMTs, for their first year in the Eagles, have a year of dues free of charge. This is a little thank you to our first responders,” said Kerege.

Nationally, the F.O.E. claims a membership exceeding 850,000, with another 250,000 in women’s auxiliaries.

If you have any further interest in the F.O.E., Mother Aerie One, call 206-762-5125 or visit their website.

Katie Melton is the intern for Maple Leaf Life. She is a journalism student at the University of Washington.



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