The Fraternal Order of Eagles was founded on February 6, 1898. The organization was formed by six theater owners sitting on a pile of lumber in Moran’s shipyard in Seattle, Washington. They were competitors who had come together to discuss a musicians’ strike. After deciding how to handle the strike, they agreed to “bury the hatchet” and form an organization dubbed, “The Order of Good Things.”
Early meetings were held on local theater stages and after taking care of business, attendees rolled out a keg of beer and enjoyed social time. As numbers grew, participants selected the Bald Eagle as the official emblem and changed the name to “The Fraternal Order of Eagles.” In April, 1898, the membership formed a Grand Aerie, secured a charter and developed a constitution and by-laws, with John Cort elected the Eagles’ first president. Touring theater troupes are credited with much of the Eagles’ rapid growth. Most early members were actors, stagehands and playwrights who as they toured, carried the Eagles story across the United States and Canada.
The organization’s success is also attributed to its funeral benefits (no Eagle was ever buried in a Potter’s field), the provision of an aerie physician and many other benefits. The Eagles pushed for the founding of Mother’s Day, provided the impetus for Social Security and pushed to end job discrimination based on age. The Eagles have provided support for medical centers across the country to build and provide research for medical conditions. They raise millions of dollars every year to combat heart disease and cancer, help children with disabilities, and uplift the aged and others.
“Order of Good Things” established. Later that year, the organization changed its name to Fraternal Order of Eagles and formed the first Aerie.
F.O.E. starts advocating for Mother’s Day
Creation and formation of the Ladies Auxiliary
Support for enactment of Social Security Law
Eagles Memorial Fund established
Nearly 10,000 Ten Commandments plaques distributed
F.O.E. Ten Commandments monument placed in Ambridge, PA. F.O.E. Ten Commandments monument placed on the grounds of a state capital, Denver, CO
Nationwide “Jobs After 40” program inaugurated
Jimmy Durante Children’s Foundation established
Golden Eagle Fund established
Max Baer Heart Fund offered first grants for Aerie-sponsored CPR classes $405,000 donated to Eagles’ Truman Cardiovascular Lab at Research Medical Center, Kansas City Golden Eagle Fund donated $5,000 in grants to institutions conducting Alzheimer’s disease research
Donations to St. Jude Hospital top $1 million
Eagles matched grants up to $500 to sponsor Drug Education Seminars
Eagles supported Operation Desert Storm with mail and food packages
$50,000 donated for the Eagle Alcove of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Roosevelt was a lifetime F.O.E. member)
Memorial Foundation established Attack on America Fund and raised $500,000 F.O.E. purchased property to consolidate international headquarters
International headquarters opened in Grove City, Ohio
Eagles rededicated Ten Commandments monument at international headquarters F.O.E. generously supported development of a new scoliosis brace named the “Eagle Brace” F.O.E. signed first year contract with Braun Racing for FOE.com-sponsored car
Eagles worked with local government leaders to keep “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. F.O.E. signed second year contract with Braun Racing
Eagles supported American Eagle & Literary Challenge in quest to name June 20 National Eagle Day, The Disaster Relief Fund was passed which will allow the Eagles to have “trailers” stocked with supplies to be a first response team.
$25 million gift commitment to fund The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center at The University of Iowa.
During an Eagles Memorial Service in 1904, Frank E. Hering’s keynote address is recognized as the “First Public Plea” for a day to honor mothers. It was through the Eagles that the concept for Mother’s Day first spread across the country.
When President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935, he presented the pen to the Eagles for our “vision and courage” in making it happen.
Jobs after 40
When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed this bill that ended age discrimination in the work place, he presented the pen to the Eagles and said “The Eagles started this whole idea.”
When President Johnson signed the bill he presented the pen to the Eagles and said “For your energetic and dedicated espousal of social justices… and the compassionate treatment of the sick and disabled.”