PERKASIE — Groups including the Womans' Club of Perkasie and local branches of the Rotary, Lions, and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are still around, but the number of fraternal and other clubs isn't what it once was.
"There were at least 20-some clubs in the 1920's in Perkasie," said Rick Doll, who, with Matt Lynch, co-curates the Perkasie Historical Society Museum.
The museum's "Perkasie 140th Anniversary: Clubs and Organizations," which was exhibited June 8 and 9 and July 13, gave a glimpse into those days.
At a time when there was no television or internet and before many people even had a car, the clubs offered entertainment, Doll said.
"It also provided them with a means of getting life insurance policies," he said, noting membership in the Knights of Pythias included $1,000 of life insurance for $3 a month.
Cressman's Lodge was located at 7th and Arch streets, he said.
"It was a large building and the clubs and organizations had their meeting rooms in there," Doll said.
That building burned down in 1922, he said, leading to Fraternity Temple being built on 6th Street.
"Nine different organizations got together," Doll said, "and they made an agreement to build that building."
The cost of the new building was about $45,000, he said.
In 1929, when the borough celebrated its 50th anniversary, Fraternity Temple was home to 24 different organizations, according to historical information in a book published for the anniversary year and available on Perkasie Historical Society's perkasiehistory.org website.
At the time, Fraternity Temple's second story front room was the home of the American Legion, the information said.
The building was purchased by the American Legion in the 1940's, Doll said. It has also been used for a district court and library prior to currently being an apartment building, he said.
Items on display included a list of the charter members of the local American Legion, which this year is observing its 100th anniversary, Louise Doll, Rick's wife and a Perkasie Historical Society member, said.
The American Legion formed in the aftermath of World War I, Rick Doll said. Prior to that, there had been a Grand Army of the Republic post in Perkasie for Civil War veterans, he said.
"After World War II, the American Legion really thrived because you had all the World War II soldiers," Doll said.
Other clubs and organizations included musical groups.
"There was a Boys Band in Perkasie at the time," Doll said. "The VFW had a drum and bugle corps."
The display also includes a Last Man's Club of Perkasie No. 1, signed by members in 1951.
There were also other last man groups, which were groups of men who got together for breakfast or lunch, Doll said. The "last man" in the name referred to the group members dying over the years and eventually only one surviving, he said.
There was also a group called The Breakfast Club that got together for breakfast at the Colonial Café at 7th and Arch streets, he said.
"They would have breakfast once or twice a week or something like that, and discuss what was going on in town," Doll said.
The Sun-Maid Raisin Club was a women's club, he said.
There was also an Odd Fellows Club, he said.
"There still are Odd Fellows in Sellersville, but Perkasie had their own at one time," Doll said.
There was also a Drama Club that put on plays, he said.
The Brotherhood of America, a national fraternal organization, had a branch in South Perkasie, he said.
"They had a lot of members," Doll said. "In 1929, they had 277 members."
The Community Service Group raised money for men and women in World War II and put out a book of the local people who served in the war, he said.
The Womans' Club of Perkasie began in 1897 as The Ladies' Literary League, then, in 1923, changed its name to the Womans' Club of Perkasie, the 1929 information says.
The Needlework Guild of America provided large amounts of clothing for the less fortunate for many years, Louise Doll said.
The nationwide organization had a Perkasie branch from 1915 to 1982, she said.
"It's a very neat, inspiring group," she said.
The Guild now is headquartered in Warminster, she said.
The Perkasie Historical Society Museum display included a scrap book prepared for a longtime president of the Perkasie branch, she said.
Another of the items on display was a blue ribbon won by the Perkasie branch of Needlework Guild of America at the 7th annual Sell-Perk Community Farm Show at Sell-Perk High School in September of 1947. The former Sell-Perk High School is now Pennridge South Middle School.
In recognition of this being the 140th year since Perkasie Borough was incorporated, each of the Perkasie Historical Society Museum exhibits this year has the prefix "Perkasie 140th Anniversary:"
On May 18 and 19, there was a Soldiers exhibit.
On Saturday, Aug. 17, the museum will take part in the British car display on Walnut Street during Perkasie's Under the Stars Car Show on downtown streets.
The museum will also be open 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17 and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18 and Saturday and Sunday, September 14 and 15 with a Business and Industry exhibit.
On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5 and 6, the museum will be open noon to 4 p.m. with a Sports Teams exhibit. Perkasie Fall Fest is also on October 6.
On Saturday and Sunday, November 9 and 10, the museum will be open noon to 4 p.m. with a Transportation, Trains and Trolleys exhibit.
On Saturday, December 7, the museum will be open 4 to 8 p.m. with a Christmas in Perkasie exhibit accompanying Perkasie's annual tree lighting activities.
The Perkasie Historical Society Museum is located in the former trolley station at 513 W. Walnut Street. Admission to the museum is free; donations are appreciated.
Perkasie Historical Society also operates the Perkasie Carousel, which is at 3rd Street and Park Avenue, adjacent to the borough's Menlo Aquatics Center.
The carousel's next open time will be noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 28. Ride tickets are 50 cents. Souvenirs and refreshments are also available to be purchased.