EVERETT – Due to several decades of steadily declining membership, Everett’s Fraternal Order of Eagles have to fly to a smaller nest.
The organization is selling its building at 3726 Broadway to a developer. In August, the group will move up the road to the Cookbook Restaurant at 1216 Broadway.
Once the Eagles move into the Cookbook, it will become a private dining club for members only and will no longer be a public restaurant.
The Eagles lodge, which has existed in Everett for 107 years and in its home on Broadway for 26 years, will have an open house from 2 p.m. to midnight today to celebrate the end of an era and the start of a new one. Today’s party is open to the public. Food, beverages and activities will be offered all day for the entire family.
The Eagles are disappointed to have to move, but such is life for many fraternal organizations, said Kevin Schaefer, chairman of the Eagles’ board of trustees.
In Everett, the Eagles are continually having dinners, raffles and fundraisers for charities, including those that work to fight heart disease and cancer.
Like the Moose, Elks, Shriners, Knights of Columbus and other fraternal orders, the Eagles are a members-only social organization.
Fraternal orders “were real popular years ago, and as the membership got older, a lot have died,” Schaefer said. “The kids coming up today aren’t interested in fraternal orders.”
Eagles secretary and trustee Bill Smith estimated that lodge membership has dropped by about 1,000 people in the last 15 years. He said the Eagles have 1,200 area members and almost 1,000 auxiliary members.
“It’s kind of sad, I guess, but it just got to the point we can’t afford where we’re at with taxes and utilities and all,” Smith said. “We’re trying to keep it from being negative. (Today’s) celebration is kind of a new beginning.”
The Eagles club open house begins at 2 p.m. today with karaoke, hosted by Granite Falls DJ Dan Van Hoy.
At 4 p.m., there will be simulated horse races with betting.
At 6 p.m., the Everett Eagles Junior Drill Team will perform.
At 7 p.m., the Eagles band – one of only two in the state – will perform.
At 8 p.m., the old-time rock ‘n’ roll band Fever will play.
About 10 p.m., attendees will move to the parking lot to watch fireworks following the AquaSox game.
There will be free hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, strawberry sundaes, chips, spaghetti and other food from 4 to 8 p.m., though donations are welcome.
There also will be drink specials – $1 shots, wine and beer, and 50-cent soft drinks.
For more information, call the Eagles at 425-252-5713.