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Moose membership triples with lodge

April 11, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

FUNKSTOWN - They weren't moosing around.

Governor Franklin Spielman and building chairman Jerry Moser of Funkstown Moose Lodge 2435 spent more than four years working to get a Funkstown home for lodge members.

The new facility opened in March.

"I wanted the town to have something here to help support it," Spielman said.

Construction on the 13,000-square-foot building at 132 Old National Pike south of Funkstown began last June and was completed in the late fall.

Congratulatory certificates from the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates crowned the lodge's March 4 grand opening, which state, county and local officials attended, Spielman said.

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Since it opened, the spacious lodge has attracted numerous events, and membership has tripled to about 1,800 members and some 200 Women of the Moose, Administrator Donald Butts said.

"We're booking 2001," he said. "It's new. The food is excellent. We try to do whatever our patrons ask of us. Our slogan is 'The friendliest place in town' and we try to prove that."

The lodge has served as a meeting place for the Funkstown Senior Citizens, and as a sponsor of the town's annual Fun Days and the Third Annual Adult Team Spelling Challenge in nearby Hagerstown.

The fraternal club is paying its new lodge's $1 million price tag with in-house dances and Monday night bingo games, and with income from outside bookings made through group-affiliated lodge members, Butts said.

Only members can use the new lodge's game room and purchase food and drinks, but outside groups can take advantage of the facility if they are affiliated with Lodge 2435 members.

The lodge has hosted sports awards ceremonies, wedding receptions, business banquets, and birthday and anniversary parties, Butts said.

Members of the Raven's Roost, a club of Baltimore Ravens football fans, will gather at the Funkstown lodge later this month.

Such gatherings will help fund the facility, which was built with cost in mind.

"We did everything we could to cut costs," said Spielman, pointing out the many chairs and table bases reupholstered and painted by inmates at the Maryland Correctional Institution.

Some furniture was salvaged from a closed restaurant in Hagerstown, while other supplies came from defunct Moose Lodge 212, Spielman said.

Members also did their part to keep costs down, including building the 48-stool, horseshoe-shaped bar in the lodge's social quarters, he said.

The result is a facility that has exceeded Spielman's expectations, he said.

"From day one, what I really wanted when you came in the front door was for it to have a family image," Spielman said.

That's why the lodge's social quarters, which houses the bar, is to the left and around the corner from the entrance, he said.

The nonsmoking main dining/ballroom area is to the near right of the building's entrance, just beyond the game room. That room, which can accommodate 300 people, features a small wet bar, salad buffet and space for more rest rooms.

The room can be divided in two with a curtain to accommodate both group meetings and diners, said Butts, who added that the ballroom has good acoustics.

"It can be a pretty nice dancing facility," he said.

Administrative offices and a room for Women of the Moose are between the entrance and social quarters on the facility's east side.

At the rear of the social quarters on the lodge's west end, food is prepared in a large industrial kitchen that has three walk-in coolers, grills, fryers, a spacious prep area and huge tilt skillet.

The tilt skillet can cook about 200 pounds of shrimp at once for the lodge's popular shrimp feeds, and one massive fryer crisps some 60 pieces of chicken at a time for the Moose's Thursday night fried chicken buffets, Butts said.

The handicapped-accessible lodge is on a triangular-shaped five acres with a 160-space parking lot and the option to buy an additional five acres for future growth, Spielman said.

The lodge has applied to Moose national headquarters for permission to build a family center, said Spielman, who envisions a ball field, horseshoe pits and pavilion to accommodate family-oriented outdoor events.

"We've got plenty of room for expansion," he said.

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