The Fraternal Order of the Eagles occupied this building at 405 Washington Avenue at the time of its construction in 1925-28 as a club and meeting hall. The main purpose of the Eagles is “the helping of the fellow who is up against it.” This quotation is taken directly from the Saturday Evening Edition of the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern (2/11/28) and clearly shows the intention of the organization to help the citizens of the community. The four basic principles that the Eagles stand for are Liberty, Truth, Justice and Equality. The Eagles Club building was designed by Henry Auler of the firm Auler, Jensen and Brown. The structure is designed in Old English/Tudor Revival Style with high gabled roofs. The brick building is symmetrically composed with two-story bay windows dominating the front projecting wings and casement windows are surrounded by crosetted frames. Although Tudor Revival residences appear in the city, this is the best example of the revival of English Medieval styles for a large public-oriented building. The original interior included a main lounge area with dark oak wood decoration emphasizing the ceiling beams as well as a large fireplace, library and reading room, service bar, ballroom and stage. The basement included a bowling alley and spectator’s gallery as well as a kitchen and the second story held the main lodge room fronting Washington Avenue and several large staterooms. Stunning woodwork & amazing architecture details grace almost every corner of this building.
The Eagles Club Building at 405 Washington Ave opened in February of 1928. Architects were James P. Jensen and Henry Auler who had been associates of William Waters. The building is considered to be the best example in the city of English Medieval style used for a large public building. Evidently inspired by Jacobean architecture, the brick building has two story bay windows dominating the front wings and casement windows surrounded by crosetted frames.
The building served as the home of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Oshkosh and was considered a showcase for the local organization. Many events for the group as well as for community organizations, statewide conventions of organizations, unions, and political parties were booked for the distinctive hall. Local banquets and balls and school and athletic events were held there, and during the big band era well know bands played the Eagles Club. Boxing and wrestling matches were popular events and the location of the old ring posts might still be seen on the hardwood floor in the main ballroom. In addition, many bowling teams used the 10 alleys in the basement.
An aging membership, lack of volunteer help and high operating capital were reasons cited for selling the building in 2002. The local Eagles Aerie leased back a portion of the space.
From 2004 until 2010 the building was the home of Oshkosh East High, an alternative school for students at risk of failure or dropping out, and Journeys, a project-based charter school.
The building was purchased in 2017 and the complete renovation is scheduled for completion in fall of 2018. The building has been renamed The Howard and will boast an upscale events space, a 10-lane boutique bowling alley and bar and a healthy grab-and-go cafe. On February 21st of 2018, the building was officially listed as in the National Register and State Register of Historic places by the Secretary of the Interior, protecting its grandeur for generations to come.