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 carried the Eagles story as they toured 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 other membership 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 United States and Canada to build and provide research on medical conditions. Every year they raise millions of dollars to combat heart disease and cancer, help children with disabilities, and uplift the aged and infirm.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles is known for short as the F.O.E.
A “new era for the women of Eagledom” began when an amendment to the Grand Aerie Laws to establish a Grand Auxiliary passed unanimously at the 1951 Grand Aerie Convention in Rochester, New York. Eagle Auxiliaries had existed before the Grand Auxiliary was formed, the first being founded on March 24, 1927 in Pittsburg, Kansas. Three days later,a second Auxiliary was established in Frontenac, Kansas. By March 1951, 965 local Auxiliaries were in existence, totalling 130,000 members. By the end of that year, 22 state and provincial Auxiliaries were also operating.
Victoria Aerie #12 is one of the first organized, being instituted in 1899. The Ladies Auxiliary was instituted in 1946. The club has being in several locations in the area – in buildings on Johnson Streets and View Streets downtown – and settled at the current location on Esquimalt Road in 1989. In the past year (2015-16) Victoria has contributed over $16,000 in financial support for our community.