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The year was 1921. William Harding had just been inaugurated as the 29th president of the United States, and postage stamps cost just 2 cents. At the end of the year, a young physicist by the name of Albert Einstein would be awarded a Nobel Prize.
But that particular year, the event that would have the biggest effect on Rush City took place on Sept. 23, when Marilla Stone hosted a meeting at her home.
That meeting signaled the creation of the Rush City Women’s Club. And 100 years later, that club is still doing good works that benefit Rush City and its residents.
The Rush City Women’s Club celebrated its 100th anniversary with a luncheon held at The Spare Room at Chucker’s Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 25. A good number of the club’s 36 members, as well as a number of other local dignitaries, attended the luncheon to celebrate the anniversary.
One of the attendees was Dorothy Siljendahl, who still lives in the same house on Third Street that she and her husband moved into in 1965. She joined the Women’s Club two years later.
“I had heard about it and had been to a few meetings,” Siljendahl said of her introduction to the club. “A few people have moved into town since then, but there are no strangers. Everybody is kind and friendly. They’re just good people.”
Siljendahl was not the only person who joined the Women’s Club to meet new people. When Marvel Anderson moved to Rush City to live with her husband, Everett, she was an outsider who had grown up the western Minnesota farming town of Dawson.
“I joined because I lived in the community, and I was interested in being part of the meetings,” she said. “I learned about the community through the organization, and I was able to connect to the community.
“I soon realized we would do projects and help the community. And when I read the history of the club, I was overwhelmed.”
That history includes the creation of the Rush City Library in 1923. According to research that was presented at Saturday’s meeting, the Women’s Club served as librarians, cleaned the library, and started reading groups while often paying the rent wherever the library was housed.
The Women’s Club held “book showers” to purchase books, and also took donations for library needs such as a typewriter, a computer, and a magazine rack.
Another major accomplishment of the Women’s Club was maintenance of the City Park, which it took over in 1936. In the ensuing years, the organization planted flower beds, painted the bandstand, and cleaned the park. While the city voted in 1941 to handle park upkeep, that did not stop the Women’s Club from purchasing chairs and tables for the park in 1954 and making other contributions to the park in the years that followed.
The Rush City Women’s Club also has donated to other worthy causes over the years, including war bond drives during World War II, creation of an auxiliary to handle mending and linens at Rush City hospital, and a number of other noble efforts.
To raise money, the Women’s Club was well-known for creating a community calendar that included birthdays and anniversaries of residents.
“I miss that calendar,” said Nancy Schroeder, who presented the club’s history during the celebration.
Now the Rush City Women’s Club has created an event called “Rush City’s Bountiful Boutiques” as it major fundraiser. This year’s Bountiful Boutiques will be held Nov. 5-7 at a number of locations: Back 40 Market in Harris, The Hunting Widow’s Boutique at Rusheba Town Hall, Positively 4th Street, the Raven’s Nest, The Spare Room at Chucker’s Bowl, and Wayne’s Greenhouse and Gifts.
“There are crafts and baked goods and other items for sale,” Women’s Club co-president Gloria Tri explained. “It is all homemade stuff. The first year we did this, we were overwhelmed by the amount of baked goods we had.
“It really is a big fundraiser for us. It makes our high school scholarships happen.”
Saturday’s program included the presentation of five grants, which were awarded to the Rush City Library, the Rush City Food Shelf, Rush City Senior Dining, Rush City Cares and Rush City’s American Legion Auxiliary.
The program was attended by a number of local dignitaries, including Rush City Mayor Dan Dahlberg and council member Frank Storm; Chisago County Commissioner Mike Robinson; State Rep. Brian Johnson; State Sen. Mark Koran; and a representative of the office of Congressman Pete Stauber.
There also was a video tribute from U.S. Sen. Tina Smith along with written commendations from U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Gov. Tim Walz.
But the highlight for the group appeared to be the opportunity to reconnect with members of the club.
“I still come [to Rush City] a lot – I like to follow the North Chisago Historical Society’s efforts, for example,” said Anderson, who now lives in Mendota Heights. “But I also like to keep in touch with my friends in this community.”