Editor’s note: The story below is part two in a series of stories about the history of Dunnellon Moose Lodge. The Lodge celebrated their 35th anniversary last month.
In 1927, 51 men from Dunnellon, Romeo, Inverness, Lebanon, High Springs, Morriston, and Holder came together to form the first-ever Dunnellon Moose Lodge.
They were men from all walks of life, including contractors, timber workers, dentists, attorneys, farmers, locomotive engineers, merchants, linemen, cobblers, postal clerks, barbers, professors, realtors, store clerks, plumbers, conductors, and other trades and services related to the local area.
In listings contained within the Lodge History by Number, a report posted on the Ohio Moose Association website ohiomoose.com, there are two individual listings for Dunnellon Moose Lodge.
The current Lodge home, Dunnellon Moose Lodge No. 2308, shows an institute date as April 12, 1987. The second listing, Dunnellon Moose Lodge No. 1690, shows March 25, 1927.
There has been no other information found on the original Dunnellon Moose Lodge other than the Lodge History by Number Report that shows the Lodge closed on Aug. 26, 1928, and those provided by Moose International.
Thirty-eight years prior to 1927, Dunnellon was a booming phosphate area after hard rock phosphate had been found by Albertus Vogt off County Road 40 in Marion County. The discovery put Dunnellon in the center of the industry with Tiger Rag, Early Bird, and Eagle mines producing high volumes.
Land values rose with the onslaught of prospectors who looked to cash in on the land’s secret treasure.
The boom was short-lived, however, and by 1900, production shifted to other areas of the state and the prosperity of phosphate mining came to an abrupt end in the region.
To add to the downslide of the area, World War I began in 1914, followed by the 1918 influenza outbreak, there were massive orange crop losses due to severe hard freezes, and a building boom fell short of keeping up with the needs of developers which ultimately forced land values to drastically drop.
During this same time, the 1926 Miami Hurricane, a Category 4 storm, caused $76 million in damage in South Florida and heavy damage in the Florida Panhandle.
Two years later, the 1928 Fort Pierce Hurricane caused $5 million in damages on the east coast.
The second hurricane, the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane, made landfall on the southeastern coast as a Category 4 storm and caused over $25 million in damage and over 2,500 deaths.
It is the third deadliest hurricane in American history.
According to a Florida Department of State story on Florida Facts, “Florida’s economic bubble burst in 1926, when money and credit ran out, and banks and investors abruptly stopped trusting the ‘paper’ millionaires.”
The state’s economy plumaged into a depression due to the economic downturn and costs associated with the most recent hurricanes.
And then the stock market crashed.
According to the report, a hundred Moose Lodges closed between 1929 and 1941 for unknown reasons, or merged with other Lodge homes located in their respective areas.
Dunnellon Moose Lodge No. 1690 is listed as closed Aug. 28, 1928. No reason was provided.
It was open for a little more than 1.5 years.