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.

The FOE's

  • 1898

    “Order of Good Things” established. Later that year, the organization changed its name to Fraternal Order of Eagles and formed the first Aerie.

  • 1904

    F.O.E. starts advocating for Mother’s Day

  • 1927

    Creation and formation of the Ladies Auxiliary

  • 1935

    Support for enactment of Social Security Law

  • 1944

    Eagles Memorial Fund established

  • 1954

    Nearly 10,000 Ten Commandments plaques distributed

  • 1955

    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

  • 1957

    Nationwide “Jobs After 40” program inaugurated

  • 1967

    Jimmy Durante Children’s Foundation established

  • 1972

    Golden Eagle Fund established

  • 1983

    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

  • 1985

    Donations to St. Jude Hospital top $1 million

  • 1988

    Eagles matched grants up to $500 to sponsor Drug Education Seminars

  • 1991

    Eagles supported Operation Desert Storm with mail and food packages

  • 1995

    $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)

  • 2001

    Memorial Foundation established Attack on America Fund and raised $500,000 F.O.E. purchased property to consolidate international headquarters

  • 2002

    International headquarters opened in Grove City, Ohio

  • 2005

    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 car

  • 2006

    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

  • 2007

    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.

  • 2008

    $25 million gift commitment to fund The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center at The University of Iowa.

Mother’s Day

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.

Social Security

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.”

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