Like a family that finds itself much smaller then it was back in the day, the Ellensburg Moose Lodge has downsized.

This past week the lodge completed the move from its former building on Main Street to the lower floor of the old YMCA building on the corner of Water Street and Fourth Avenue.

“We made the decision in September to put the building on the market,” said Brad Bird, governor of the Moose Lodge. “By Thanksgiving we had a buyer. We knew it would move quickly.”

The building sold to Ellensburg businessman Jim Rowe who intends to convert the building into a brewery and all-ages eatery.

Bird said when looking for a new home, the space in the old YMCA was the best option. The space has had multiple tenants over years including a Japanese restaurant.

“It has a nice kitchen, a bar and meeting room,” Bird said.

Some modifications are needed to create office space, Bird added.

Just too big

The Main Street Moose Lodge arose after the old Moose Lodge collapsed in the snow storm of 1996.

The large building hearkened back to the days of large fraternal lodges, but turned out to not reflect the contemporary trends.

“We overbuilt,” Bird said. “The building was built for 1,000 members. We have 200. We were never able to keep that building up.”

In addition to being used as a venue for community festivals, such as Jazz in the Valley, the building was also used for events such as Kiwanis bingo.

“We’ll be able to do everything we used to do,” Bird said. “We just won’t have as large of a venue.”

Hassle of moving

The Moose had hoped to be in the building earlier. While the new location is suited to the group’s needs, it required some work, such as installation of the bar. There also was the bureaucracy to work through with state liquor licensing. The space opened in time for a Daytona 500 party last Sunday.

Bird said throughout the moving process, Rowe allowed the lodge the time it needed to get everything in order.

“Jim Rowe has been very accommodating,” Bird said.

The Moose had a grand opening last weekend and this Saturday will have live music.


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