3 Organizations that Shaped our City

September 1, 2016 10:54 pm Published by

By Ann Koppy, BHSoc Historian

1920s Broadway Street Looking East

People come together in organizations for a multitude of reasons: friendship, religion, patriotism, business, or politics. Many are well-known and continue to function. Others have faded into the pages of history.

Beaverton Commercial Club
Businessmen and progressive citizens established commercial clubs nationwide to work for the common good and to guide development by advocating for civic improvements and responsible government. Beaverton’s was established by 1912 and met on the first and third Thursdays at the Grange Hall on Farmington and Angel; that landmark structure was demolished in 1963. Members subsequently paused until 1918 when a newly invigorated group promised to secure cooperation with other Tualatin Valley organizations and towns. One of the early endorsements was a joint resolution with Commercial Clubs of Reedville, Aloha, and Huber that encouraged locals to give preference to Oregon-produced goods.
That same year the association put street signs on North Coast Power Company’s poles around town. Donated by Civic Improvement Committee chair B.V. Peate, they were installed when concrete sidewalks were completed. Beaverton’s weekly newspaper, The Owl, opined that one day the city would use house numbers.

Needing to raise $200 to promote their support for better roads in Washington County, Huber’s Commercial Club sponsored a Second Highway Dance at their hall in spring 1918. For $1.00, couples enjoyed a professional music ensemble and refreshments while helping make possible a major connector. When it opened the next year, the club made merry with a huge free Jubilee banquet and party open to the public featuring the Ladies’ Novelty Orchestra. The road, then known as West Side Pacific Highway, from the Multnomah County line to McMinnville, would eventually be renamed Tualatin Valley Highway. Active at the same time in and around Beaverton was a notable fraternal benefit society.

Beaverton Camp of the Woodmen of the World
Joseph Root founded Woodmen of the World (now Woodmen Life) in 1890 in Nebraska to provide financial protection to members and their families, promote patriotism, and encourage civic responsibility.

Beaverton Camp of the Woodmen of the World was established by 1912. Officers were designated as Consul Commander, Advisory Lieutenant, Clerk, Watchman, Banker, Escort, Sentry, and Manager. Members, often referred to as “Husky Choppers”, reflecting the forest theme, were white males 18-52 years of age of good moral character who were not employed in certain dangerous lines of work, such as aviators, plow grinders, and grindstone turners. Also excluded was anyone who sold, brewed, or distributed alcohol. The auxiliary was called Women of Woodcraft and was affiliated with the Pacific Jurisdiction of W.O.W. Other prominent groups that were active in Beaverton in the early 20th century have faded from memory.

The Sorrento Club
The Sorrento Club provided vocal music circa 1915-1919 at occasions that included fund-raising drives, graduations, entertainments, church services, and Decoration Day (Memorial Day) parades. Further research is needed, but the club appears to have been composed of residents of the Sorrento area of Beaverton. Their solos, duets, and chorus performances always received hearty praise and were greatly enjoyed.
Everyday life has changed considerably since these organizations were established, but their legacy continues.

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This post was written by Michael Wong