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Looking Back: It's All About Belonging

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Over the years, there have been many organizations and clubs in the Wenatchee area.

We have had granges, service clubs, fraternal lodges, philanthropic organizations, groups geared to recreation, youth, hobbies and so on.

They had varied purposes and missions and most developed strong bases of membership. Some served niche interests but others had broad programs to include children and youth as well as adult members.

While some groups have come and gone over the years, others are still going strong today.

Let's go back to 1963 and take a look at some of the organizations back then that you may remember:

  • SQUARE DANCING

Among the most colorful facilities developed by Wenatchee square dance groups was The Barn in East Wenatchee.

It was not only a place for dancing but for meetings and dinners.

Through the years, the building served as a church, a packing shed, grange hall and a shelter for old machinery.

Around 1957, 10 couples of the Appleland Promenaders bought it and made extensive improvements. In 1963, when this photo was taken, it was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence McCurry, foreground.

The Barn was also rented to other square dance groups.

  • APPLEATCHEE RIDERS

The Appleatchee Riders was one of the best-known family clubs in the valley... and it still is. It was organized in 1947.

In 1963, their facility was on a tract of about 12 acres near Millerdale and Red Apple Road.

It had 168 stalls with room for guest horses in corrals and tie racks, a track, outdoor barbecue and a chuck wagon. In the clubhouse, more than 200 families would gather for potluck dinners, banquets, square dancing and breakfasts.

In 1972, the Millerdale property was sold to the school district as a new site for Wenatchee High School and the club bought property on Circle Street.

Mrs. Ed Metcalf and Mel Berry are in the photo. Charlie Brown, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lea Brown, rides Bonnet in the background.

  • EASTSIDE GARDEN CLUB

One of three garden clubhouses in the state was owned by the 75-member East Wenatchee Garden Club, organized in 1927.

Among the charter members was Mrs. Karl Gussman, who persuaded her husband to let the club meet in a packing shed owned by the family. The women moved in, built a fireplace and later bought the building.

Through the years, they added landscaping and improvements.

Every member had her turn at work day.

Members in the photo were, from left, Mrs. Hugh Van Doren, Mrs. Merlin Fitch and Mrs. F.L. Piersol.

  • GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB

The Wenatchee Golf and Country Club had its own facilities in East Wenatchee since 1926.

At that time, it was a patch of green surrounded by sand and sagebrush.

In 1958, the swimming pool and upper nine were added. By 1963, the property extended four blocks from North Baker to Eastmont.

In the photo, swimming instructor Lou Boni guides two swimmers during a beginners class while others awaited their turn.

  • SWIM AND TENNIS CLUB

The Wenatchee Swim and Tennis Club, organized in 1961, was located on a five-acre tract at the foot of Number Two Canyon.

By 1963, membership was more than 100 families with the facilities attracting many visitors from other cities. Two new courts were opened that spring, making a total of seven.

There were five major tournaments booked there that summer. It was a busy place.

In warm weather, the 25 x 75 foot pool was ringed with swimmers of all ages.

What clubs and organizations do you remember from the past? Did you belong then? Are you still a member?

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