Beatrice #531 History

History of Our Clubs—Beatrice #531
The Fraternal Order of Eagles was organized in Beatrice on October 27, 1903 with 146 members and it’s first Aerie home was at 417 Court St. In 1913 it moved to 412 Ella St., and it received its charter as Aerie 531 on September 8, 1915. In 1922 the Aerie moved to 177 1/2 N 6th St. and moved again in 1923 to “Clemmer Flats” at 405 Ella St and did major remodeling of that location in 1928. In 1946 the Aerie had grown to 600 members and in the 1949 they built the lower level of the south half of a building at 111 S 8th St. and the upper level was put on in 1954. There was major remodeling done to both floors in 1963. In the early 1970’s membership had grown to over 1000 members, so the north half was added in 1976, to accommodate the growing membership. That addition gae the Aerie 18,000 sq. ft. of usable space. At one point in the early 1980’s membership grew to just under 1700. Like many Fraternal, Veteran and Social Clubs nationwide, the Beatrice Eagles membership dwindled to less than 1000 around 2005. With less membership and less use of the facility for non-Eagle activities the club started looking to downsize.
In 2010 a buyer was found an the Aerie closed on the sale of the S 8th St building on December 10th. One month later on January 10th, 2011, the Aerie entered into a contract to purchase a 3660 sq. ft. building at 119 N 19th St. The Aerie continued to hold it’s regular meetings in the new structure and after some major remodeling and installation of all new equipment and furnishings and the Aerie reopened it’s clubroom on June 1, 2011. Our current membership is holding relative steady in the 500 member range. We have a weekly hamburger night on Tuesday and a monthly Rib night on the fourth Thursday of the month. In addition, we host numerous special events such as a Chili Cook-off, a BBQ Cook-Off, an annual Golf Tournament, etc. We have great participation in both a Fall and Winter Shuffleboard Leagues. Business has been good and we currently have a small mortgage, all bills are paid, and are making improvements to the Aerie Home and have a nice bank balance.
The following is a little tidbit of Aerie 531 history that might be of interest to some of our Aeries that have huge Beneficial Membership liabilities;
In 2007, when 531’s finances were at their worst, the Aerie had 243 Beneficial Members, for a potential Benefit Fund liability of 121,500. The fund had $55,973.90 in assets. Therefore, the Aerie Benefit Fund had a potential liability shortage of $65,526.10. The Secretary at that time devised a plan to buy out what the beneficial members had invested in the Benefit portion of their membership and return them to Non-Beneficial Membership status. The plan was well received and at the completion of the buy-out period on July 1, 2007 all but 19 had accepted the buyout reducing our Benefit liability to $19,500/ So we reduced our shortage by $46,026.10. We are currently down to 7 Beneficial Members for a Benefit liability of $3,500.