Riverview II, a social club, which has always maintained its main objective of having fun among friends, was founded in Carmichael in 1953.
Its roots, however, date back to the 1920s, with the establishment of the original Riverview social club.
In memoirs written in 1959 by Glenn W. Bowen, one of the earlier groups founding members, Bowen explained how the original Riverview club was organized.
Bowen, a real estate man who resided at 1032 37th St., recalled a time, in 1925, when he and another real estate man named Carl Klein were asked to sell a house at 1716 7th Street, near the old Sacramento Bee building.
“George (Hammond) said, ‘If you boys (Bowen and Klein) sell this house, I’ll give you a cash bonus and the best dinner in Sacramento,’” Bowen wrote. “I sold the house. We never got the dinner, but I kept reminding George of the same.
“One day, he came to the office and invited us to a 6:00 o’clock dinner at the yacht club – just a boat house (sic) on the Sacramento River. We didn’t know any of the members and they couldn’t see us – after the first half hour. We didn’t swim – had a good liquid dinner and steak, I think, at least so they told us.
“Carl and I went home early, when the card game began. On the way home, we decided the evening was wasted, except that we did get an idea. Why not find a place on the river and form a family club for ourselves and friends.”
After discussing their idea to form such a club, Bowen and Klein, who was a resident of North Sacramento, called a few of their friends to invite them to join them in that endeavor.
With a few of their recruits, Bowen and Klein began meeting to discuss their intentions of forming a club.
During one of those meetings, a suggestion was made that Bowen and a new group member, Byrl Babock, who lived at 1235 ½ V St., begin searching for a club site along the American River.
Bowen recalled that venture in his aforementioned memoirs, as follows:
“We spent several days walking the river bank between Fair Oaks and Sacramento. Late one evening, tired and discouraged, we climbed the hill at the end of Stanley Avenue and came to a bluff on the American River. Below us was a natural park. Beautiful oaks, green grass and the river, with a beach. All this and a view, too. Best of all, we met Mary Deterding, the (property’s) owner, and one of the best known and most respected women in Sacramento County.
“Byrl painted a picture of our group of outstanding young couples, most of who (sic) didn’t even have a yard nor a dollar, but with big ideas and the best intentions. Mrs. Deterding liked the idea – mostly she liked Byrl – and finally agreed to consider our proposition.”
The group’s next move was to visit the site, and after arriving to the area with their children and dogs, they left with a grand vision of establishing club grounds complete with a hotel, golf links, boating and swimming.
But the group soon realized they needed to downsize their plans due to financial reasons.
Although the group, which then consisted of 10 men and 10 women, would face various challenges in establishing their club grounds, they would not be discouraged.
It was quickly understood by the group that they would need to create a road on the hill and steps down to the site.
Additionally, Deterding told the group that they had selected a location that was situated in a flood zone.
Nonetheless, the group made an arrangement with Deterding to lease the site for five years at a cost of $10 per year.
The lease, which was drawn by Deterding’s attorney Evan Hughes, included the stipulation that the group was not to possess or serve liquor on the premises.
Klein was named as the club’s first president, and many other men followed him in that role.
Other original officers included Babcock, vice president; Arthur S. Hackett, treasurer; Gordon Lilly, secretary; and directors, Bowen, Jack H. Leam, John H. McMahon and Emil N. Ott.
Although the club did not allow women to serve as presidents, women could hold the position of social chairman. Mildred Leam was the first person to hold that position in the club.
The club established its own constitution and by-laws.
An excerpt from the club’s original by-laws describes the organization’s purpose, as follows: “To encourage and cement friendship to the mutual benefit of all its members, to the end that each member and his family shall have a place to meet his friends, rest and enjoy himself and the outdoors at its best.”
With the founding of Riverview, work began on the construction of the group’s clubhouse.
The clubhouse was certainly completed in a short time, considering that Bowen’s memoirs included the following words:
“Next came the flood of 1926-27. Most everything along the river ended up in the ocean. Two noble oaks saved our beautiful clubhouse from floating away. Of course, we did not know this was the first of many floods to come. This was not serious. We worked out a system – 1) Levee an assessment; 2) Spend all spare time working on club; 3) Get new members with money and strong backs.”
Bowen also commented that following every flood, the clubhouse and its furnishings would be improved.
He also noted that the Depression nearly caused the club’s existence to come to an end.
According to Riverview’s records, at one point during that period of misfortune, 21 of the club’s 32 members had failed to pay their dues.
As for Riverview’s membership, the club was solely opened to married couples.
Efforts to increase Riverview’s membership total was a three-fold project, which featured random calls using numbers from a telephone book, door-to-door inquiries and on-street contacts.
Eventual improvements to the club’s grounds included a kitchen and croquet court.
In 1953, with their desire to have Riverview activities continue for many more years, senior members of the club met with some of the members’ children. That meeting led to the establishment of the “Junior Riverview” club, which is known today as Riverview II.