During Mooseheart's first five years, a small number of independent Moose seniorsÂ were provided residence at Mooseheart, "the Child City," on a somewhat experimental basis. However, providing a home for both children and seniors on the northern Illinois campus proved impractical. In 1918, Director General James J. Davis proposed to that year's International Convention to find "a home in a warmer climate for the aged members and their spouses."
Supreme Secretary Rodney H. Brandon purchased the historic four-story Hotel Marion and its eight acres, located on the St. Johns River in Orange Park, Florida. He named the property "Moosehaven" and the new residents renamed the hotel, "Brandon Hall." The original concept of Moosehaven was to "organize the residents so that they might help each other and help themselves, and provide from their own energy the major part of the cost of their keep."
Moosehaven was dedicated on October 3, 1922, and the first 20 residents arrived (mostly from Mooseheart) on November 1. During the first six months of operation, over 50 residents were admitted. By 1926, there were 144 residents. Known initially as the "City of Endeavor," Moosehaven residents performed all of their own work and operated a successful dairy and farm. At various times, as many as 500 Moose members resided at Moosehaven.
Nearly ninety years later, Moose members continue to reside on Moosehaven's 72 acres. The campus has evolved from a working farm and dairy to a Continuing Care Retirement Community, exclusively for members of The Loyal Order of Moose and Women of the Moose. Two admissions programs are offered to meet the financial needs of the members, the Traditional Retirement Program and Brandon Place.
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