Back to Home Page

Local Links
Sun Valley Guide
Hemingway in Sun Valley
Real Estate

For the week of April 11 through April 17, 2001

Carey Progressive Club maintains tradition

Members still play pinochle at 87-year-old club

Express Staff Writer

Since February 1914, the Carey Progressive Club has met once a month in the homes of its members to join together to practice their motto.

"Ever onward, upward, helping everywhere."

Carey Progressive Club members stand at Alma Rush’s front door ready to greet their club sisters. From left to right, Mary Peterson, vice president; Alma Rush, hostess; Mary Green, treasurer; and Bonnie Justesen, president.

And, so, true to practice and true to their motto, the 12 members of the Carey Progressive Club settled into an afternoon of pinochle at Alma Rush’s home last Wednesday.

It was the 87th time the club had met in March, and the 1,045th time it had met overall.

But the connection between the Carey Progressive Club and the several different Progressive Movements in American history is unclear.

Mary Hunt, a club member for about 40 years, said there might have been a political element to the club at one time, but she is not clear what it was.

She did recall that at one time, the club appointed delegates to observe the Idaho Legislature to keep women back in Carey and other towns informed.

Many in the club thought it had its beginnings in the women’s suffrage movement, which won women the right to vote. That may be true since the club started in 1914 and the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote was passed in 1920.

Hostess Alma Rush, left, and Madge Reay join in playing a hand of pinochle at the Carey Progressive Club’s monthly meeting at Rush’s home last week. Express photos by Peter Boltz

Club member Mary Green has a calendar of the club’s 1918-1919 monthly meetings, which reports the club was organized in 1914, federated in 1919 and became statewide in 1922.

The assumption drawn by many of the members was that at one time the Carey Progressive Club was affiliated with other Progressive Clubs across the state and the nation.

Hunt said, "I suppose after we got the vote, we slowed down."

Whatever may have been its political origin, Carey Progressive Club member Madge Reay said its political activities ended a couple of years ago when members stopped taking dinner to the election judges on Election Day.

However, the club still has causes and raises money for them, such as sending off high school students to Girls State and to Boys State, an annual event in Boise designed to show selected students the inner workings of state government.

Another task club members still perform is to serve as greeters at the Blaine County Fair and to keep an eye on booths while their owners are taking a break.

Asked if they wear any special badge, insignia or sash to identify themselves, the women just chuckled and said, "People just know we’re Progressives."

Now they get together to have fun on the first Wednesday of every month, usually in the form of lunch and then a few hands of pinochle. But before any of that begins, club president Bonnie Justesen said, they say the Pledge of Allegiance.


Back to Front Page
Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.