Many clubs from past still active today

By : 
Mary Jo Dathe

We found another glimpse of yesteryear, a listing of clubs and organizations that were active in years past.   As you can see, many of the officers are now long gone, and will be remembered for their contributions.  A social community, Spring Valley has a number of clubs in which residents of all ages may participate. 

The Spring Valley Garden Club was formed in 1960 with the purpose of sharing information and enjoyment in gardening.  The group hosts an annual flower show, and plants and maintains flower beds at the flagpole site on North Broadway and the Community Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home.  The club meets each month in members’ homes.  Current officers are Sharon Krom, Ruth Kaster, Lenora Hintze, Ruth Lemke, Margaret Grabau, and Donna Cooper.  (The club has met for over 50 years now with present officers: Deb Dahl, Vicki Rolli, Ann Ihrke, Sarah Johnson.  They have planted maple trees south of the library (city hall), at the park and at the Zittleman house; contribute to the FFA; have their annual flower show, etc.)

To give its members a medium of self-expression and to promote adult education, the Cosmopolitan Club began as a federated study club in 1947 (an off-shoot of the Concordia Club, also a federated club).  Now primarily a social group, it contributes to charities and community causes, as well as placing books in the public library as memorials.  Officers are Shirley Landgrebe, Marian Thompson, Evelyn Grabau, Emmy Phillips and Elsie Bessingpas.  (Present officers are Jennie Kovarik, Jeanette Baker, Myrna Legreid, Norma Merkel and Annette Anderson.)

The oldest study club in Fillmore County, the Up-to-Date Club, was organized in 1892 with six charter members, Mesdames L.M. Ashley, B.W. Huntley, Laura Kalb, A..M. Smith, Roy Viall and Elmer Lloyd.  As a study and social club, the members participate in community projects and take occasional trips to historic sites and points of interest in the area.  The main project is the contribution of books to the public library, and placing large-print magazine subscriptions at the Community Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home.  They meet regularly in members’ homes.  (The group is long gone.)

The Royal Neighbors of America is a fraternal benefit society, organized locally in 1896.   Meetings are held monthly, and current officers are Mrs. Bea Olson and Mrs. Betty Berg. (Long gone.)

The Spring Valley Area Sportsmen's Club sponsors various outdoor activities including a tree-planting program on farmers' set-aside acres for wildlife refuges, and the members feed pheasants in key areas when weather conditions permit it.  The club sponsors the annual firearms safety program for young people, and maintains a 21-acre site with a gun range and stocked fishponds for use by the members.  A smelt feed is an annual fund-raiser.

The Senior Citizens Club of Spring Valley meets every Tuesday at the Community Center.  Formed in 1967, the group is part of an area senior citizens program, which sponsors a variety of activities including a nutrition program offering meals five days a week.  Occasional bus trips are sponsored for members through SEMCAC, Southeastern Minnesota Citizens Action Council.  Local members meet weekly for social activities, assist with the annual Kiwanis toy project, and contribute memorials and gifts to the nursing home.  Officers are Lorraine Albrecht, Ruth Latcham, Evelyn Solt and Venita Thompson.  (No longer in existence.)

The Hospital Auxiliary, a service organization, was formed in 1962 and meets once a month.  Members have several fund-raising activities with the proceeds used to meet special needs at the hospital and nursing home including extra lounge furniture, TVs, new equipment for the nursery, a new communications unit for the deaf, and many others.  They take pictures of new babies, and a recent project is buying infant safety seats, which are rented to families.  Several scholarships are offered each year for high school seniors entering health-related occupations.  Members are responsible for the hospital cart, which makes rounds to serve patient's needs.  Present officers are Dorothy Heidlebaugh, Marie Bock, Myrtle Carson and Helen Koebke.

Veterans of Foreign Wars, Hanson-Raabe Post #4114, was formed in 1920, named for George M. Hanson and Theodore Raabe, Jr. who gave their lives for their country.  Annual events include Loyalty Day May 1, Veterans Day and Memorial Day observances.  The group sponsors the Voice of Democracy, School Patrol, Scouting programs, and donates regularly to the Community Nursing Home.  The newest project was installation of flagpoles from the bridge on South Broadway the length of North Broadway to Tracy Road.  Flags are flown for all major holidays.  Present officers are Larry Neimeyer, Dennis Kraft, Don Glynn, Dale Wondrasch, Bob Czapiewski, Tom Minnich, Lorain Grabau.  Post members meet every month at the post home in the Parsons Stone Block on South Broadway.  Parsons Stone Block & Hall was built in 1871 and was recently nominated to the National Register of Historic Places because of its fine architecture and state of preservation.  (It was destroyed by fire recently.)

The VFW Auxiliary is a service organization serving the needs of veterans and various community and national concerns.  It sponsors an annual Poppy Day and other fund-raisers.  Proceeds are donated to veterans' hospitals, the Servicemen's Center at the Minneapolis airport, USO, Education Fund, and Christmas Cheer.  Special projects are donations to the cancer research and sponsoring two local Girl Scout troops.  The auxiliary supplies the canteen at the Red Cross Bloodmobile twice a year; sponsor a Light-a-Bike program, and furnish patriotic color books for young people; contribute flags where needed; donate to Camp Winnebago, Christmas seals, and many other charitable organizations.  The members participate in Memorial Day observances, and meet regularly at the VFW Post hall.

A group of women with mutual interests organized the Arts & Crafts Club in 1929.  The program reflected their interest in the history of crafts of various kinds, but later their studies became wider in scope and included general topics on travel, music, book reports and current events.  They also supported the public library with gifts.  The club was disbanded in the 1970s.

The Methodist Church Museum and Washburn-Zittleman Historic Home will re-open on Memorial weekend. See you there!