Pottawatomie Garden Club to celebrate 90 years
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If a club can boast of being around for 90 years, it certainly has proved to be useful, if not vital, to its community.
The Pottawatomie Garden Club falls into that category, celebrating its 90th year and again preparing to make downtown St. Charles and surrounding areas look nicer. Plus, its annual Garden Walk on July 14 will have a 1920s feel to it on the marketing materials and tickets in honor of the milestone.
"Once you reach 90, you realize all of the other places in St. Charles reaching 90 or higher milestones," said Karen Masus, a current vice president and past president of the club. "It is such a neat thing to see this common thread, whether it is the Hotel Baker, Arcada Theater or Baker Community Center.
"Just about every place downtown started at the same time," said Masus, who is chairman of this year's Garden Walk.
The club was organized as the Junior Garden Club of St. Charles in March of 1928 with 25 members. Today, the club has 116 members.
The name Pottawatomie Garden Club came along in 1930 and coexisted with another club called the St. Charles Garden Club until the war years. The St. Charles Garden Club folded at that time.
"The 1940s, during the war, struck me as being interesting in terms of all of the things the club did internationally and regionally," said Diane Conn, a past president and honorary member of the club for being in it more than 20 years.
Conn compiled a history timeline of the club, basing her report on the club's original meeting minutes from 1928 to 1953, then using other documents to fill in the blanks when meeting minutes were somehow missing until 2000.
"The club participated in the Victory Gardens site and did a program called Seeds for Democracy," Conn said of the war years.
"Dellora Norris found out about the World Church sending seeds to war-torn Europe, and the club participated and donated money."
The seeds program ultimately led to 70 tons of food being available for those in need.
The Pottawatomie Garden Club almost called it quits during the war as well.
"The women were so busy in helping with the war effort, it was just difficult," Conn added. "With gas rationing taking place, I think they felt maybe they did not want to waste gas to go to meetings. So, for some years, they only met a few times."
Luckily for St. Charles, the club forged on, creating the Garden Walk event in 1959 with six featured homes. In 1978, the club began planting in flower boxes built by Melvin Peterson along the Main Street Bridge and in other locations throughout the city. So many flower shows and beautification projects, such as along the Fox River corridor and the St. Charles Municipal building, have followed.
"It's just amazing what these women do," said member and past president Marce Van Glabek. "Most clubs and organizations have trouble with membership, but we always have had strong membership."
That means that women know the importance of this club and are eager to join and pitch in. And the rest of us get the calming effect that colorful flower arrangements can provide when walking or driving through a city.
Waiting for this Post:
My wife is generally a good barometer for me on the level of anticipation new retail locations are going to trigger.
She's claims a lot of people are anxious to check out the Sierra Trading Post, which will open Saturday, March 17, in the Batavia retail strip at Fabyan Parkway and Randall Road, as well as a new Dollar Tree store going in the same strip.
Sierra Trading Post -- a store offering all sorts of clothes, shoes, outdoor and fitness stuff, as well as pet products -- fills the empty spot once housing Circuit City in what seems like two decades ago.
And though they may not seem relevant to all, there was a distinguishable moan when a dollar store near Best Buy in Geneva closed last year.
It's always nice to have an inexpensive option when you need certain items.
Some TV exposure:
You know your restaurant is on a good roll when just about everyone who goes there comes out saying it was an excellent experience -- from the food to the ambience.
Craft Urban in Geneva is taking it a step further, being highlighted as the featured restaurant Tuesday, March 13, on WGN-TV's "Lunch Break" segment during the noon telecast.
It means a chef from the Geneva eatery will talking about preparing some sort of tasty dish.
Build the scoreboard:
It was great to hear that the effort to build a Geneva High School baseball scoreboard in memory of former player Nick Hanson has been reached through donations from throughout the community.
The Shodeen Family Foundation matched donations up to $9,000 toward the scoreboard, which should be erected this spring.
Hanson died from injuries suffered in a car crash in October 2017 at the age of 19. He was a student at Waubonsee Community College at the time.