Moosehaven, the "City of Contentment," is a 63-acre community maintained by the Loyal Order of Moose and the Women of the Moose for its retired members and their spouses. It is located in Orange Park, Florida, on the banks of the St. John's River, 15 miles south of Jacksonville.
After the founding of Mooseheart, the famed "Child City," originally for children from Moose-member families in need, the fraternity turned its attention to plans for a home for its dependent retired members. During the 1915-1919 period, a small number of such elderly were provided a home at Mooseheart, but Director General James J Davis and his top lieutenants realized that this was not a realistic long-term solution.
In early 1922, the Moose purchased a riverside hotel and 26-acre resort at Orange Park, and, on October 3, 1922, Moosehaven was formally dedicated. The first 22 residents were those who had been living at Mooseheart. They set up housekeeping in November in the graceful old hotel which had been renamed Aid Hall.
During its first 20 years, Moosehaven was run essentially as a self-sufficient communal farm, with much of the work necessary to keep the campus running performed by those who lived there. In more than 75 years, the average age of a Moosehaven resident has steadily risen from early 60s to around 80, so a trained operating staff is now required. However, even today Moosehaven residents are free to plant their own gardens, and can work for extra spending money as landscapers, housekeepers, food-service helpers, maintenance crew, mail deliverers, shop clerks, and the like.
Since World War II, all of the original buildings on the 63-acre site have been replaced. The physical plant today consists entirely of modern buildings designed and built to provide pleasant and comfortable accommodations.
The Administration/Auditorium building was originally a gift of the Moose Legion, and was significantly expanded in 1989 by the Women of the Moose. It houses the offices of the superintendent and other administrative staff, resident counselor, postal service, bank and community auditorium.
Pleasant recreational facilities, a library, game room, gift shop and barber and beauty shops are provided in the Michigan Recreation Center, while a fully equipped health club, bowling lanes and swimming pool are available in the New York Healthplex, opened in 1997.
Each Moosehaven residence hall is a self-contained home with its own sleeping and living rooms, kitchen, and dining room. These include the state-of-the-art Florida/Bermuda Residence, opened in 1997; Buckeye Residence, opened in 1995. Renovations of several other residences, most funded through the generosity of the Women of the Moose, opened in the late 1990s.
The Paul P. Schmitz Health Center, designed and equipped for the needs of senior care, was completed in early 1968 at a cost of more than $2,000,000. The building provides space for 170 beds and has its own therapy department, x-ray, laboratory, and pharmacy. It also boasts sixdayrooms, a chapel, library, beauty salon and barbershop, and arts and crafts room.
Thirty years later, however, the Moose fraternity is taking the next tremendous step in a facility designed for seniors needing extra degrees of care. The LifeCare complex, a massive 130,000-square-foot, $16 million project incorporating the functions of the Schmitz Health Care Center along with an updated program involving graduated levels of assisted care, is slated to open by early 2002.
Moosehaven residents worship intheir own beautiful New York Chapel, located straight ahead from the campus entrance. The bright, gracefully designed house of worship was funded by the Moose of New York State and dedicated in 1972. Moosehaven residents are served by their own Catholic and Protestant chaplains.
The men and women of Moosehaven are served delicious, well-balanced meals carefully planned for their nutritional needs. They request and are delivered such personal articles as they need. Birthday cakes are presented to those celebrating birthdays.
While laundry services are provided without charge, some of the residents prefer to do their own, and washing machines are provided for them.
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