The Jacksonville Moose Lodge has been shut down by the International Loyal Order of Moose.
The decision was apparently handed down to the Lodge’s Governor and Board of Officers by the International Moose last week.
Moose Lodge #865, also the location for Women of the Moose chapter 1079, was at 901 West Superior Avenue, right behind the Lincoln Square Shopping center.
Tab Turke, the last serving Governor of Lodge 865 before Moose International shut it down, details why the Lodge was permanently closed.
“About a week ago, the Moose International, which is the overseer of all lodges throughout the United States, came down and formally shut down our Lodge. This is permanent, and it was a decision by Moose International. At this time, there are no activities, functions, or anything of that nature going on. I know that officials with Moose International are over there right now paying bills and things of that nature.”
Turke describes factors that contributed to the closure of the Jacksonville Moose Lodge.
“We’ve been, for quite sometime, having financial hardships and fleeting membership, as well as a lack of volunteer participation. So the Moose International made the decision that they would close the Lodge. Right now, all memberships are still active and can be transferred to any other Lodge in the country. But there is no Moose Lodge #865, no activities or events, and Lodge #865 is now in the custodial hands of Moose International.”
Turke says service clubs are not as popular as they once were with younger men.
“We’ve been fighting this not just recently but for years. I was a member since back in the 70’s. Actually I was the Governor this past year, and I came in contact with a lot of members. Many are sad and have great memories of the Lodge that they cherish, including myself. Truthfully, I believe that service clubs are starting to dwindle now. Our average age of members was about 55-60, and we do have a hard time recruiting younger members because more youth are involved in health conscious community activities, such as working out. The idea of service clubs is not as fashionable as it was back in the 70’s and 80’s and 90’s, and that has been one of our major downfalls.”
Other Moose Lodges in west central Illinois include Lodge #420 in Pittsfield, Lodge #506 in Rushville, and Lodge #1216 in Carlinville.