Riverview II, a local, primarily social club that first met in the Riverview clubhouse along the American River in Carmichael, was established in 1953.
The group was founded as a result of the original Riverview organization’s desire to continue its history through the formation of a secondary club with younger members.
The senior club, which was officially founded as Riverview Lodge in May 1926, was recognized in its constitution and by-laws as a club that was organized “for social and benevolent purposes, and to encourage social activities among its members and their families.”
Original Riverview members Jack and Helen Conger wrote a creative, poetic story about that first Riverview club.
The beginning portion of that story reads:
“It happened like this, so the historians tell,
Many decades ago a bunch of – well,
Mighty nice people got itchy feet
And decided to depart from the street.
They thought if they could find a cozy nook
With trees and vines and a babbling brook,
They might get together every now and then
And enjoy themselves – both women and men.”
Twenty-seven years after the original club found that “cozy nook,” the Junior Riverview club – renamed Riverview II in 1985 – was established.
And since the one-time Junior Riverviewers have grown to become seniors themselves, Riverview II members decided to create a book to preserve memories of their cherished club. That 70-page, spiral-bound book, which also includes a brief history of Riverview Lodge, was published on March 1, 2014.
The book is divided into various sections, including a section entitled “Governance.”
In that section, it was noted that Riverview II’s constitution was written in 1954, and dealt mostly with the topics of club officers, elections, duties and membership.
Originally, membership in the club was limited to couples, and only men could serve as officers.
The book recognizes Jack Kemmler as acting chairman of Riverview II in 1953. That position was basically comparable to the position of president.
Virgil “Virg” LaCornu began serving as the club’s first president a year later.
It was not until 2009 that the club elected a female president – Bobby Kramer.
In a recent interview with this publication, Jackie (Leam) LaCornu, whose parents, Jack and Mildred Leam, were among the founding members of the first group, said that she played a large role in the creation of the new Riverview club’s history book.
The book’s committee met at least once a month for one year at Jackie’s house, and according to the book, the committee was fueled by plenty of coffee, tea, water and cookies.
It should come as no surprise that Jackie was able to provide much assistance with the book project, since she was a founding member of Riverview II, which emphasizes a “fun first” approach, which has included many parties and other social activities.
Jackie spoke with much enthusiasm about both Riverview Lodge and Riverview II. And as she recalled both of those organization’s old clubhouse on the river, Jackie related information about that building’s absence, practically as if she was speaking about the death of a member of her family.
The old clubhouse was undoubtedly Riverview II’s most memorable meeting place.
In explaining why Riverview II lost its old clubhouse, Jackie said, “(In 1980), the senior Deterdings had passed, and the younger Deterdings – Russell Deterding and his wife – owned it. And they had decided to go ahead and turn (the property) over to the county. The county said that the (clubhouse) had to be up to code. It would have had to be completely rebuilt from the ground up, and even then we wouldn’t have owned the land. (The county) would have ended up taking whatever we built.
“The county tore it down, even though we thought it would be perfect for scouts and different county activities.”
The aforementioned Riverview book included the following words: “Riverview II has utilized a number of locations during their existence. However, none are more memorable than the original lodge by the river.
“We sadly said goodbye to the lodge on the river, but felt confident we would have wonderful times together no matter where we gathered.”
Following Riverview II’s departure from its lodge on the river, its members began meeting at the Sacramento Horsemen’s Association’s lodge at 3200 Longview Drive. The group continued meeting at that site until 2001.
Later meeting places of the club have included: the Ryde Hotel in Walnut Grove, the Arden Manor clubhouse, the Campus Commons clubhouse, Aviators Restaurant at the Sacramento Executive Airport, the Buggy Whip restaurant at 2737 Fulton Ave., Jackson Catering at 1120 Fulton Ave., a home for seniors and residences of members of the group.
The largest section in the book is dedicated to fond club memories of Riverview II members.
A few of those memories are presented, as follows:
“Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end. We’d sing and dance forever and a day. We’d live the life we choose (sic). We’d fight and never loose (sic), for we were young and sure to have our way.”
“(Ora’s husband) Don loved to make decorations for our parties. He made the room and table decorations for many parties: Hawaiian, beach, Italian, Mexican, cowboy-western, Chinese and Christmas. One year for Christmas, he made a 5-foot-long red Santa sleigh and a 6-foot-tall snowman with top hat and scarf (made from chicken wire and cotton balls).”
LeRoy “Pete” Peters
“(Pete’s wife) Arlene and I moved to Sacramento in 1964 and were very shortly thereafter, in 1964 or 1965, sponsored for membership into Junior Riverview, as it was then called, by Fred and Barbara Taylor. Fred and I were both working for the same consulting engineering firm.”
“Our relatively recent (five years) becoming part of Riverview II for (his wife) Irene and I has been a meaningful renewing (of friendships) with a number of people we’ve been associated with over the course of our lifetime, including connections from grade school, high school, college, scouting, work, skiing, fraternity and business. Riverview (II) is truly entwined with our background and with Sacramento history.”
“The Horseman’s (sic) hall was decorated (for a party) as though it was underwater. Walls were lined with plastic. There was (sic) a treasure chest and a mermaid, I believe. It was a very elaborate setting for the party.”
Other parties of the club included the Playboy club party in the 1950s and the Orient Express party in the 1960s.
The old Junior Riverview club even made the news on occasions.
For instance, The Sacramento Bee once published a photograph of the group, with a caption, which partially reads: “Songfest – Members of the Junior Riverview Lodge had an old-fashioned pajama party and campfire session Saturday evening at the clubhouse on the American River. The members slept in sleeping bags on the clubhouse lawn and were served breakfast (the next) morning in the lodge by the committee.”
Shown gathered around a bonfire in the photograph were Don and Ora Wichmann, Martin “Marty” and Myrna Luther, Charles “Chuck” and Barbara Wilke, Chalmers and Colleen West, Bob and Barbara Chadwick, Virg and Jackie LaCornu and William and Bobby Kramer.
Although the present day, remaining members of the club are not as active as they once were and have refrained from producing their once often elaborate decorations, they plan to continue to meet for as many more years as they will find possible.
Although it was once a movement of Riverview II to establish an active Riverview III club, that action proved to be a failed endeavor.
And since Riverview II consists of a group of senior members, the club’s existence, Jackie explained, will likely not continue with younger members in the future.
“I don’t think we (will continue with younger members),” Jackie said. “I think (the club) will just have to die like (Riverview Lodge) did. And it wouldn’t be the same (in the future), so I think I’m okay with it. It’s just going to have to die. That’s really why we wanted to do the book, because we were aware of the fact that we’re just getting to the point where we’re fading away.”
But in the meantime, Jackie said that Riverview II members are dedicated to meeting and enjoying each others’ company on a regular basis.