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Originally published Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Nation's first Eagles lodge finds new home

The nation's first Eagles lodge will move from Georgetown to a former quilting store on Lake City Way.

Seattle Times business reporter

The nation's original Eagles lodge has found a new home: A former quilting store on Seattle's Lake City Way just off Interstate 5.

Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie No. 1, which sold its old building in Georgetown to a developer in September, bought the former In The Beginning store at 8201 Lake City Way N.E. for $2.1 million, according to county records.

Marc Eisberner, a trustee and former president, said the lodge plans to remodel the building's interior and occupy it in four to six months. After renovations it will include meeting rooms, a bar, kitchen, dining area and museum where items from the Eagles archives will be displayed, he said.

Aerie No. 1 was the Eagles' first lodge, established in 1898. It moved to Georgetown in the 1980s from its longtime home in downtown Seattle, a building once known as the Eagles Auditorium that now houses A Contemporary Theatre (ACT).

Eisberner said the two-story, 10,000-square-foot building on Lake City Way is a better fit for the Eagles, whose membership, like that of most fraternal organizations, has declined.

The Georgetown building, a former bowling alley, "was way too big," he said. "We had three or four times the membership when we moved there."

Broker Norman Ives, who represented the lodge in the transaction, said the 1985 structure also should mean fewer maintenance headaches than the old space.

The In The Beginning shop once was a mecca for quilters and crafters. The Yenter family, which owns the company, closed the retail store several years ago to focus on fabric design.

Since then it has been used mostly for storage, said the family's broker, Greg Inglin, of Pacific Real Estate Partners.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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