How Did It All Begin?
Way, way back in 1965, several Moose members from other lodges thought the Muskego community would be an ideal area to promote the Loyal Order of Moose. They set about talking to friends, relatives and business associates – telling them about Mooseheart and children, Moosehaven and our senior members, and the many community services the Moose fraternity performs.
Then on Feb 16, 1966, it became a reality! Having signed 100 prospective members – 100 needed for a charter – the institution of Muskego Moose Lodge 1057 became a reality! Institution was held a Clifford’s Supper Club in Muskego – now Suburban Bourbon.
Since a lodge home was not available, meetings were held in the hall of a local pub belonging to one of the charter members Bob Brinkmeier (Bob & Lee’s) on the southeast corner of Janesville and Tess Corners Roads.
Bowling leagues were formed, picnics held at another member’s grounds, ice fisheree events, and raffles were held – anything to generate funds for our own lodge home.
In 1969 the wives and daughters of lodge members decided they wanted to take a more active part in the activities. On May 3, 1970, with 50 women signed, Muskego Chapter 1617 was instituted.
Meetings for both the Lodge and Chapter were held at Bob & Lee’s for several years, then were moved to Jensen Center in Muskego. Since the Center had two floors the chapter and lodge members both me on the same nights. Refreshments were carried in to the Center – soda, coffee, treats and it was an exciting time for everyone.
Then – in 1974 an old tavern with 4.5 acres at the corner of Janesville and Crowbar Roads became available! With not a lot of funds in the bank account, but with a banker as a member who shared the enthusiasm of the members, a loan was secured and the building was purchased.
The building was an old roadhouse built during prohibition. The remodeling was a massive undertaking! when walls were knocked down, metal tubing was found that had been used to secretly carry liquor from upstairs storage to faucets in the kitchen during prohibition. Walls were knocked out, new flooring laid, new windows inserted, the front screened-in porch was remodeled into an attractive and comfortable bar area. Members volunteered to do whatever was necessary to make a pleasant Moose home.
Finally – On June 26, 1975 formal dedication ceremonies were held with dignitaries from the Moose state association and Mooseheart, as well as local dignitaries present.
The Lodge and Chapter prospered for many years with many events taking place: steak fries, spaghetti dinners, corned beef dinners, dances, theme parties – Arabian nights – gong show – After Taxes party – spring fling, hay rides. Sports also has always been an important part of Lodge activities; horseshoes, bowling, pool, golf, etc.
When the building began to show its years and slowly deteriorated, it became necessary to plan for a new facility. Members worked for many years trying to secure financing and design an affordable building. What you see now is the result of the dedication and hard work of ALL the members – those who have “been around forever” and never lost faith as well as those who have recently become involved in a project they care about.
The Ladies Have An Idea That Grows
When Muskego Moose Lodge 1057 was instituted in 1966, the wives of the members met in the back room of Bob & Lee’s tavern as a social get-together while Lodge members held their meetings. Gradually the women decided to give themselves a name and meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday – the same time and day that the Lodge met. This ‘club’ was called “The Better Halves”.
On behalf of the lodge, these ladies held rummage sales, organized the children’s Christmas parties, helped with the annual picnic and just generally pitched in to assist Lodge members whenever and wherever needed.
In 1970 permission was granted by Mooseheart for the formation of a ladies auxiliary – a chapter. Fifty wives, mothers, sisters or daughters of Lodge members were need to complete a charter. Finally on May 3, 1970 – a rainy Sunday afternoon – members of Milwaukee Chapter 345 held an impressive ceremony at Bob & Lee’s instituting Muskego Chapter 1617 of the Women of the Moose.
State and national dignitaries took part in the ceremony including Past Grand Council Member Doris Zitelman, Deputy grand Regent Marion Noeth and Catherine Brown as instituting officers.
After the formal institution of the Chapter, another ceremony was held enrolling the 31 ladies present as charter members of Muskego Chapter 1617. This was a beautiful ceremony and included a special address from a 50 year chapter member of Milwaukee Chapter, Anna Gropp, who also presented the class with a copy of the General Laws.
The next step in organizing the chapter was to install the board of officers, appointed officers and chapter development chairman. The first board of officers were Fran Mickelson as Senior Regent, Beverly Chase as Junior Graduate Regent, Nancy Callies as Junior Regent, Carol Hilt as Chaplain, Barbara Thibedeau as Treasurer and Susan Krueger as Recorder.
Through the years the work of the chapter has been a continuous program of progress and growth, plus a wealth of memories to treasure. Such as the time in 1972 when co-workers were preparing for an installation of new officers when the Muskego area was hit by a severe thunder and electrical storm, leaving the entire Muskego area without electricity.
The installation was scheduled for 7:30 pm at Denoon Beach Resort with a dance to follow. With no electricity it took a lot of scurrying by Lodge members to round up candles, kerosene and Coleman lanterns just to give enough light to read the ceremony. This particular night was also filled with many other minor calamities – a dress not returned from the cleaners; a broken zipper just as the ceremony was about to begin; participants trying to arrange for alternative transportation because their streets and driveways were blocked with fallen trees from the storm! Believe it or not – the dance was still held – but without the benefit of an electric guitar. It was an evening never to be forgotten!
Throughout the years, the Chapter has always worked side by side with the Lodge for the good of the Order, and has made substantial financial contributions toward building and remodeling programs.
But it’s not been all work and no play! The different committees have held dances and social functions such as: an authentic Hawaiian luau with miniature orchids flown in for the the occasion, Hawaiian dancers and mai-tais; a Mr/Miss America contest (the men were the participants); Spahnfreckels; card parties and a really spectacular Arabian Nights evening. Five gutsy co-workers decided to take Belly Dancing lessons and have an Arabian nights event – and they were GREAT! The evening was complete with a sultan, his harem and several professional dancers who also entertained.
Now (2005) with a new building and many new members, everyone is looking forward to continuing the tradition of FUN while supporting the very important work of the Moose Fraternity.