I had an opportunity to attend an event at the Black River Valley Club recently and, since I moved into the job at the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce, I find myself there more and more.
Born and raised in Watertown, I recall what downtown was while I was growing up. I have always had a dream for what the city’s downtown could be and I know there are many groups and people in our community who share that vision. That vision includes a robust future for downtown’s premier social club.
The Black River Valley Club was founded Jan. 13, 1905, and is located downtown in a unique historic building on Public Square. With an atmosphere that dates back more than a century, one can imagine the character and quaintness of the club. This social club offers private dining, member-friendly banquet facilities and private meeting space.
The club organized in December 1904, but its name — Black River Valley Club — was adopted by formal resolution of the Board of Governors on Jan. 13, 1905. The building itself was acquired in 1891 and truly has a personality of its own.
If you have the pleasure of entering club, there is a Westminster clock in the lobby that was a gift of Mary S. Goodale in 1907. Significantly, she also was the first woman member accepted by the club. A portrait of Roswell P. Flower, former New York governor and congressman, hangs in the reading room. His daughter, J.B. Emma Flower Taylor, presented it to the club.
Not only is there history behind the building and the many items it contains, there are generations of members, community leaders, and many others who have supported the club to keep it alive.
A person cannot help but get a warm, nostalgic feeling when entering the club regardless of their age. Its uniqueness makes for a pleasurable visit. The meticulous features throughout the building add character far beyond one’s imagination. Individual rooms provide a warm sanctuary for business meetings, gatherings with family and friends, or hosting a get together as an added bonus.
Supporting local businesses such as the Black River Valley Club is a way to give back to your community. Giving back to the community leads to multiple benefits. You’re not only giving to the community, you’re increasing your professionalism, especially if it’s something very valuable.
I think most community leaders would agree that active community participation, management and ongoing strategy are vital to a community’s health.
Local businesses and leaders help build a strong sense of community and help contribute to local causes. A local business owner lives in the community and cares about what happens. He wants to help build local relationships and have a say in what happens in the community. When the local community supports his business he wants to give back to those who helped him succeed.
I urge community members to decide what you are passionate about in your community. You might have a special interest in the plight of the homeless, families or children in crisis, reducing crime within the community, helping animals or immigrants, or economic development. While you might want to help everyone, that just isn’t practical. You will be better off deciding which one or two areas to focus on to help your community.
The Black River Valley Club has always been a vital, relevant factor in the business, social, cultural, and civic life of Watertown and Jefferson County. Through continued support by community leaders the club will stand as an asset for years to come. Those interested in joining the club should contact David F. Boucher, manager, at 788-2300, or visit brvclub.com. There is a wide range of membership options.