Category: News and Events
Created: Wednesday, 13 April 2016 16:12
Social media are the proof that everyone wants to be a part of something. Before Myspace, Twitter, and Facebook, we joined a church, club, or organization to stay closely connected with others who shared our interests. Clubs in Alton were extremely popular as far back as the 1800s, and it seems there was a club to fit all wants or needs. The society pages of the early newspapers were brimming with small tidbit articles reporting on who was hosting card parties, serving luncheons, and organizing dances.
We are familiar with the more popular and well established clubs such as the Fraternal Order of Eagles, The Loyal Order of Moose, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. But do you know about the not-so-familiar ones? Here is a little description of a few of the not-so-familiar clubs in Alton’s past.
The Silent Club and the Henpecked Club were social clubs in 1910. The Silent Club had a rule that they would not reveal the names of their members, even when they held dances and civic affairs in the public eye. The Henpecked Club was formed by men who had been deserted by their wives. It cost each man $3.40 to join.
Last Man’s Club was a group of World War I veterans whose motto was “Meet until only the last man is left.” The last man would inherit the club’s treasury along with their first bottle of champagne that had been put inside a replica World War I bomb and used as a table decoration at their annual meetings. According to the June 26, 1989, obituary of Edward Lee of Glen Carbon, he was the last member of the local chapter.
The Hard Leather Club was active in 1926 and was composed of men who had pledged against the use of profanity. If a member broke the rule, the other members were allowed to give the offender a hard punch as punishment. The club motto was “No dues, lots of bruise.”
Las Senoras Y Senoritas Club was formed in 1970 to assist needy American and Spanish families of the Alton area. But their talents quickly stretched, and in 1972 they were making slippers for nursing home residents and donating records to children in the state hospital. In 1974 the club changed its name to the Ladies’ Mexican American Club.
Rip Van Winkle Club was a social club for married couples only. They entertained with a monthly dancing party that included a late-night dinner.
The Manless Club was a group of married women who did not allow men to attend their meetings, although the Alton Evening Telegraph newspaper reported husbands were in attendance during the club’s 40th anniversary celebration in 1945.
The Ladies was a social club organized in 1853. Despite the name, the club accepted both male and female members.
The Jolly Good Time Club was made up of fun, energetic members who regularly organized the most successful and well attended dancing parties, banquets, and masquerade balls in Upper Alton. In 1919, a newspaper article reported the club had been so successful that they were having trouble deciding on how to spend part of the large sum of money they had in their coffers.
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