The historic Eagles Club of Oshkosh sat vacant for years, waiting for someone to notice its hidden charm.
After going through several owners, the 90-year-old building had fallen into disrepair, making a restoration costly. When Oshkosh native Carey Sharpe noticed the building about two years ago, it stood out as something that simply needed a little love.
Sharpe wasn’t quite sure what she would do with the building, but her family’s entrepreneurial background made owning a business seem like a natural fit. Sharpe sat down with her sister, Jenna Golem, and about a year ago the two decided to restore and reopen the building as The Howard, an event venue, bowling alley and healthy-eating cafe.
Founded in 1927, the Eagles Club was men-only, and women were only allowed in the building for special occasions. Today, the pair of sisters is proud to be taking on this project with their team comprised mostly of women.
“We think it’s really interesting that it’s been taken over by a women-owned and -led team,” Sharpe says. “We literally have women spearheading this project.”
Although the team may be breaking the historic rules of the building, they are committed to preserving its value and appearance. Much of the work being done on the building is to restore it back to its original 1927 appearance, while adding a few modern touches along the way. The ornate molding, wood accents, chandeliers and even some chairs throughout the building are being preserved to maintain its grand, historic character.
The Howard opened its ballroom for weddings in July, and the bowling alley and café will open this month. The venue also has a full lineup of concerts and dinner theater this fall, which can be found on The Howard’s website — www.thehowardoshkosh.com.
The community seems to be getting more excited each day with thousands of people following The Howard’s transformation on social media and inquiring about the space.
“The buzz has surprised us a little,” Sharpe says. “It is really heartwarming to see people get so excited about it, and we’re getting excited for people to come see it.”