Loyal Order of Moose

Coordinates: 41°49′37″N 88°19′44″W / 41.826847°N 88.329017°W / 41.826847; -88.329017
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Moose International
FounderHenry Wilson[1]
Legal statusNonprofit fraternal organization
HeadquartersMooseheart, Illinois, U.S.
Coordinates41°49′37″N 88°19′44″W / 41.826847°N 88.329017°W / 41.826847; -88.329017
Scott D. Hart[2]
Michael A. Rios, Jr.[2]
Joseph R. Mech[2]
Rick King[2]
SubsidiariesMoose Charities, Inc (501(c)(3),
Mooseheart Child City & School, Inc (501(c)(3)),
Moosehaven, Inc (501(c)(3)),
Moose Foundation, Inc (501(c)(3)),
Moose Title Holding Company (501(c)(2),
Lodgic Holdings, Inc (501(c)(3)),
Lodging Workplace, Inc (501(c)(3)),
Fraternal Insurance Company (for-profit captive insurance company),
NA Lodging 1, LLC (LLC hotel owner/operator),
Clever Moose at Lodgic, Inc (for-profit restaurant)[2]
Revenue (2020)
Expenses (2020)$57,305,039[2]
Endowment$200,464,373 (2020)[2]
Employees (2019)
Volunteers (2019)
Lodge 266, Jersey City, New Jersey
Lodge 168, Brooklyn, New York
Moose Convention, Toledo, Ohio

The Loyal Order of Moose is a fraternal and service organization founded in 1888 and headquartered in Mooseheart, Illinois.

Moose International supports the operation of Mooseheart Child City & School, a 1,023-acre (414 ha) community for children and teens in need, located 40 miles (64 km) west of Chicago; and Moosehaven, a 63-acre (25 ha) retirement community for its members near Jacksonville, Florida.

Additionally, the Moose organization conducts numerous sports and recreational programs, in local Lodge/Chapter facilities called either Moose Family Centers or Activity Centers, in the majority of 44 State and Provincial Associations, and on a fraternity-wide basis. There is also a Loyal Order of Moose in Britain. These organizations together make up the Moose International.


The Loyal Order of Moose was founded in Louisville, Kentucky, in the spring of 1888 by Dr. John Henry Wilson. Originally intended purely as a men's social club, lodges were soon founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri, and Crawfordsville and Frankfort, Indiana. The early order was not prosperous. Dr. Wilson was dissatisfied and left the order of the Moose before the turn of the century.[4][third-party source needed] When Albert C. Stevens was compiling his Cyclopedia of Fraternities in the late 1890s, he was unable to ascertain whether it was still in existence.[5]

In the fall of 1906 the Order had only the two Indiana lodges remaining. On October 27 of that year James J. Davis became the 247th member of the Order.[4][third-party source needed] Davis was a Welsh immigrant who had come to the United States as a youth and worked as an iron puddler in the steel mills of Pennsylvania and an active labor organizer (he later became United States Secretary of Labor in the Harding administration).[6] He saw the Order as a way to provide a social safety net for a working class membership, using a low annual membership fee of $10–$15 (equivalent to $330–$490 in 2022).[4] After giving a rousing address to the seven delegates of the 1906 Moose national convention, he was appointed "Supreme Organizer" of the Order.[7] Davis and a group of organizers set out to recruit members and establish lodges throughout the US and Canada. He was quite successful, and the Order grew to nearly half a million members in 1,000 lodges by 1912.[4][third-party source needed]

Racial discrimination[edit]

Old National Moose Lodge bylaws restricted membership in this men's club to Caucasians.[8][9][10][11] In 1972, K. Leroy Irvis, an African-American member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, was invited to visit a lodge in Harrisburg by a member as a guest. The lodge dining room refused to serve Irvis on account of his race. Irvis sued the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in federal court, arguing that the issuance of a liquor license to an organization with racially discriminatory policies constituted an illegal state action.[12] A Pennsylvania court ruled in Irvis' favor.[12] The case was ultimately appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled that Irvis lacked standing to sue based on membership and that state was not involved in the discriminatory guest practices to qualify as a state action prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment.[13][14][15]

In 1994, a Moose Lodge in Hagerstown, Maryland, denied membership based on race. Officials at Moose International took action and revoked the charter of the Moose Lodge.[16]

Mooseheart and Moosehaven[edit]

At the 1911 convention in Detroit, Davis, the "Director General" of the Order, recommended that the LOOM (Loyal Order Of Moose) acquire property for an "Institute", "School" or "College" that would be a home, schooling, and vocational training for the orphans of LOOM members.[4][third-party source needed] For months offers came in and a number of meetings were held regarding the project. It was eventually agreed that the center should be located somewhere near the center of population, adjacent to both rail and river transportation and within a day's travel to a major city. On December 14, 1912, the leaders of the organization decided to purchase the 750-acre Brookline Farm. Brookline was a dairy farm near Batavia, Illinois. It was close to the Fox River, two railway lines and the (then dirt) Lincoln Highway. The leadership also wished to buy additional real estate to the west and north owned by two other families, for a total of 1,023 acres. Negotiations for the purchases were held in January and February 1913, and legal possession of the property was taken on March 1. The name "Mooseheart" had been adopted for the school at the suggestion of Ohio Congressman and Supreme Council member John J. Lentz by a unanimous joint meeting of the Supreme Council and Institute Trustees on February 1. Mooseheart was dedicated on July 27, 1913. Vice President Thomas R. Marshall gave a speech for the occasion.[4][17]

While Mooseheart began as a school, it soon grew to become a small incorporated village and hub of the organization, housing the headquarters of the LOOM as well as the Women of the Moose. The population of Mooseheart would grow to 1,000 by 1920, reach a peak of 1,300 during the Great Depression, and decline to approximately 500, the campus' current maximum capacity, in 1979.[4][18]

In addition to Mooseheart, the LOOM also runs a retirement center, Moosehaven, located in Orange Park, Florida. This project was inaugurated in the autumn of 1922 with 26 acres of property and 22 retired Moose residents. It has grown to a 63-acre community with over 400 residents.[4][third-party source needed]


Local units are called "Lodges", state groups are "State Associations" and the national authority is the "Supreme Lodge of the World", which meets annually.[19] In 1923 there were 1,669 lodges "promulgated in every civilized country controlled by the Caucasian race".[20] In 1966 3,500 lodges were reported in every US state, Guam, Canada, Bermuda and England.[21] In 1979 the Order had 36 State Associations and over 4,000 Lodges.[18] Today it has 1,600 Lodges in 49 states, four Canadian provinces, and the United Kingdom.[22][third-party source needed]

The entire membership is sometimes referred to as the "Moose Domain".[19]


Until at least the 1970s, membership was restricted to white men of "sound mind and body, in good standing in the community, engaged in lawful business who are able to speak and write the English language".[20] In June 1972 the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision partially in the Order's favor, saying that a Moose Lodge in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, need not have its state liquor license revoked because it refused to serve a black guest, but that the state could subsequently condition its license on nondiscriminatory practices.[23][24]

In the early 1920s, the LOOM reportedly had over half a million members, with 32,570 in the Mooseheart Legion and 5,178 in the Junior Order of Moose.[20]

Year Members
1928 650,000
1966 1,000,000[21]
1979 1,323,240[25]
2013 800,000[26]
2021 650,000[22]


An important ritual for the Moose is the "9 o'clock Ceremony". At nine o'clock, all Moose are directed to face toward Mooseheart with bowed heads and folded arms and repeat a silent prayer "Let the little children come unto me, do not keep them away. For they are like the Kingdom of Heaven. God bless Mooseheart." At that same time the children of Mooseheart kneel at their bedside in prayers as well. There are also the ten "thou shalts". These begin with "Thou shalt believe in God and worship Him as thy conscience dictates. Thou shalt be tolerant to let others worship each in his own way". Other "thou shalts" pertain to patriotism, service to fellowmen, protection of the weak, avoidance of slander to a brother Moose, love of the LOM, faithfulness and humility[27]

James Davis drew up the initiation ritual for the order. It is relatively short, usually taking 45 minutes. The governor of the lodge asks the Sergeant-at-Arms to administer the Moose obligation. After candidates are asked if they believe in a Supreme Being, and if they are willing to assume the obligation they take the oath with their left hand on their heart and their right hand raised. Among other things, this obligation pledges the candidate not to "communicate or disclose or give any information—concerning anything—I may hereafter hear, see or experience in this lodge or in any other Lodge". At this point the lodge performs the 9 o'clock ceremony, and then the lodge chaplain or prelate explains the ten "thou shalts". Next, the governor grasps the hands of the candidates while the members sing Blest Be the Tie that Binds. Finally, the governor administers the second part of the obligation, the candidates promise to support Mooseheart and Moosehaven, help fellow Moose, settle disputes within the order, and not join any unauthorized Moose organizations. The prelate offers another prayer at the altar, and all then join in singing Friendship We Now Extend.[28]

There are also death and graveside services, granted on request of the family of deceased Moose, as well as a Memorial Day ceremony every first Sunday in May. The lodge altar is draped in black and white cloth, a Bible, a flower and drapes are placed on the lodge charter and the lodge prelate leads the members in prayers and the singing of Nearer, My God, to Thee.[29] After the Moose unified its male and female members under the "One Moose" banner, many of the original LOOM (now called the Lodge) rituals were removed from required meeting practices.

Gustin–Kenny incident[edit]

On July 24, 1913, two candidates for LOOM membership, Donald A. Kenny and Christopher Gustin, died during[30] their initiation ceremony in Birmingham, Alabama. Kenny was the president of the local Chauffeurs Union, and Gustin was an iron moulder. Both men were made to look upon a red hot emblem of the Order, and then blindfolded and disrobed and have a chilled rubber version of the emblem applied to their chests while a magneto was attached to their legs and an electric current was applied to them by a wire to their shoulders. The aim was evidently to make them believe that they were being branded. Both men fainted, but, as it was thought that they were feigning, the lodge officers did not stop the initiation until it was evident that the two were dying[clarification needed] and the lodge physician was unable to revive them.[20]

Benefits and philanthropy[edit]

The LOOM has historically supported numerous charitable and civic activities. It has sponsored medical research for muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, cancer and cardiology, as well as the March of Dimes. It has also supported Boy Scout and Girl Scout programs.[25]

Moose distributed a recruiting video, filmed in 2000, called "Unbelievably Cool".[31][32]

Independent, Benevolent and Protective Order of Moose[edit]

In 1925, the LOOM brought a suit against the Independent, Benevolent and Protective Order of Moose, an African American order. They attempted to obtain a legal injunction to keep them from using the Moose name, ritual, emblem and titles of its officers.[19] The New York Supreme Court found that the evidence presented by the Loyal Order of Moose was inadmissible, and it found in favor of the Independent, Benevolent and Protective Order of Moose.[33]

In another lawsuit heard by a Maryland Circuit Court, the Loyal Order of Moose sued the Independent, Benevolent and Protective Order of Moose, saying they had infringed on its intellectual property by using the word "moose" in its name, by using the moose in its emblem, and by having similar rituals.[34] The court found that the two organizations' emblems and part of their rituals were virtually identical, and the court restrained the African American order from using the word "moose" in its name.[35] The court allowed the Independent, Benevolent and Protective Order of Moose to continue using the same fraternal titles and colors.[36]

The IBPOOM was an unrelated all-African woman order.[37]

Religious objections[edit]

By 1966, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Synod forbade membership in the Loyal Order of Moose. The Catholic Church, however, has never explicitly objected to the Moose,[29] despite having condemned similar organizations, such as the Freemasons, for their oaths and other rituals. Papal Encyclicals, specifically Paragraph 9 of Pope Leo XIII's 1884 encyclical: Humanum Genus,[38] condemn any and all Freemasonic organizations and sects and bans the laity from becoming members.

Notable Moose members[edit]


Other politicians[edit]





  1. ^ "About Us". Moose International, Inc. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". Moose International, Inc. Internal Revenue Service. April 30, 2020.
  3. ^ "Tax Exempt Organization Information". Moose International. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Our History Archived 2013-08-19 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Stevens, Albert Clark, 1854– The Cyclopædia of Fraternities: A Compilation of Existing Authentic Information and the Results of Original Investigation as to More than Six Hundred Secret Societies in the United States (New York: Hamilton Printing and Publishing Company), 1899, p.274
  6. ^ Schmidt, Alvin J. Fraternal Organizations Westport, Connecticut; Greenwood Press p.220
  7. ^ Whalen, William J. Secret Organizations Milwaukee; Bruce Publishing Co. 1966; Second printing 1967 p.105
  8. ^ "The Law: Other Decisions". Time. 26 June 1972.
  9. ^ Beeferman, Larry W. (1996). Images of the Citizen and the State: Resolving the Paradox of Public and Private Power in Constitutional Law. University Press of America. p. 132. ISBN 9780761802327.
  10. ^ Karpatkin, Marvin (June 18, 1972). "Support for the right to exclude". The New York Times. p. 6.
  11. ^ Boyle, Patrick (January 2, 1969). "Refused food at Moose, Irvis to fight race ban". The Pittsburgh press. p. 2.
  12. ^ a b "Stays Liquor License Ruling". The Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania). p. 10.
  13. ^ Moose Lodge No. 107 v. Irvis 407 U.S. 163 (1972)
  14. ^ Wellner, Tina L. (1975). "Going Public with Discriminating Private Clubs". Fordham Urban Law Journal. 3 (2): 289–309.
  15. ^ Galloway Jr., Russell W. (1989). "Basic Equal Protection Analysis". Santa Clara Law Review. 29 (1). Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  16. ^ Montgomery, David (February 25, 1994). "Moose Lodge That Rejected Black Applicant Loses Charter". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  17. ^ History of Mooseheart Archived 2015-09-08 at the Wayback Machine Mooseheart web site Retrieved 12/27/13
  18. ^ a b Schmidt pp.220, 222
  19. ^ a b c Schmidt p.222
  20. ^ a b c d Preuss, Arthur A Dictionary of Secret and other Societies[dead link] St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co. 1924; p.258
  21. ^ a b Whalen p.105
  22. ^ a b "Loyal Order of Moose | Moose International | Members Area". www.mooseintl.org. Archived from the original on 2017-05-11.
  23. ^ Schmidt pp.221–222
  24. ^ "Moose Lodge No. 107 v. Irvis :: 407 U.S. 163 (1972) :: Justia U.S. Supreme Court Center".
  25. ^ a b Schmidt p.221
  26. ^ Loyal Order of Moose Archived 2013-08-19 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ Whalen p.107
  28. ^ Whalen p.106-7
  29. ^ a b Whalen p.108
  30. ^ Southern Reporter vol. 80, p. 86
  31. ^ "Moose: Unbelievably Cool - Moose: Unbelievably Cool - Found Footage Festival Super Long Play Club". Found Footage Festival Super Long Play Club. Retrieved 2 June 2020. This video for Moose Lodge recruiters introduces us to four men on a lunch break, three of whom are getting the hard sell about joining the lodge. Shockingly, this VHS tape was made in 2000, not 1989. We think you'll agree: it's a knockout!
  32. ^ Fraternity, Moose International - The Family. "Moose Communications & Public Affairs". mooseintl.org. Retrieved 2 June 2020. Unbelievably Cool 2001-2002
  33. ^ "Negro Moose Wins in Suit Brought by the White Moose". The New York Age (New York, New York). June 28, 1925. p. 1.
  34. ^ "Moose Injunction Case Begun in Curcuit Court". The Baltimore Sun. October 18, 1927. p. 3.
  35. ^ "Negro Moose Order Faces Injunction". The Tampa Daily Times. November 18, 1927. p. 5B.
  36. ^ Mangum, Charles Staples The Legal Status of the Negro Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1940. p. 75–76.
  37. ^ Skocpol, Theda; Liazos, Ariane ; Ganz, Marshall. What a mighty power we can be: African American fraternal groups and the struggle for racial equality. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. p. 44, 77.
  38. ^ "Humanum Genus (April 20, 1884) | LEO XIII".
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az Famous Moose Members Archived 2012-10-11 at the Wayback Machine Famous Moose Members Moose International web site
  40. ^ Eastman, Frank Marshall (1922). Courts and Lawyers of Pennsylvania: A History, 1693-1923, Volume 4. New York: The American Historical Society, Inc. p. 358. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  41. ^ "Jimmie Allen put his own spin on country music — and is now reaping the rewards". NPR.org. Retrieved 2022-04-12.
  42. ^ "Ross Chastain".

External links[edit]