Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, July 19, 2001, pg. 2
A national association of senior citizens was active earlier in this century, called the Three-Quarters-Century Club. That meant you had to be 75 years old to be a member of this group, the technical term being "octogenarian." The Three-Quarters-Century Club served as a Senior citizens activity and fellowship club. Local chapters were organized in various communities across the country. During the early 1930s, president of the national group was Dr. John Kellogg (of sanitarium fame) of Battle Creek, who made the movement part of his "Race Betterment Program." Their slogan was, "Letís Live a Little Longer."
The Albion chapter of the group was organized on June 30, 1929 upon encouragement from the Battle Creek chapter. The original officers and their ages were: Horace B. Farley (81), president; Albert L. Braden (84), vice-president; Mrs. Helen Ostrom Eldridge (78), secretary-treasurer.
The group had annual meetings and provided entertainment, music, art, bake sales, picnics, traaelogues, and other programs during its existence during the years of the Great Depression. One unique event was the wedding of two of its members, Mrs. Mildred Harmon to Henry J. Burkwalt on July 8, 1932. Both were 77 years old.. 350 persons packed the First Presbyterian Church for the event. The marriage was mentioned by radio broadcaster Lowell Thomas on his evening nationwide newscast.
The most significant thing left by this group however is the book entitled Albionís Milestones and Memories, published in 1932 at the local Art Craft Press on W. Porter Street. Compiled by historian Miriam Krenerick, the book proclaimed itself the "centennial edition," a reference to Albionís centennial (arrival of first settler) which began this year. The centennial was ofifically celebrated in 1935. Mrs. Krenerick was a prominent leader of the Three-Quarters-Century Club and directed its programs through the 1940s until ill health forced her to discontinue the club.
This 168-page soft-cover orange color (some are red, too) covered book is a standard Albion history reference. It contains many personal accounts from the 3/4 Club (using a fractional abbreviation for this group perhaps is not in good taste) members and is worthy of reading, even today. The book contains a listing of the groupís members, their home address, their state or country of birth, their birthdate, and an "In Memoriam" section which lists death dates of deceased members.
The book is filled with early histories of Albion and prominent pioneers, as well as biographies of Club members. The histories of numerous Albion clubs and organizations are covered, as well as municipal departments, utilities, industiries, and educational institutions found here. It would be interesting to know how many people in Albion are 75 years of age or older?
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photo of the organizational meeting on June 20, 1929 at the Washington Gardner High School, featuring the first officers and a couple of elderly members. Front row (left to right): Jacob H. Perine, oldest man present (89); Mrs. Ann Brownell, age 87 and mother of former Albion Mayor C. Owen Brownell; Horace B. Farley, president of the group. Back row: Helen Ostrom Eldridge, secretary-treasurer; and Albert L. Braden, vice-president. Also in this internet version we present a photograph of the cover of the book Albionís Milestones and Memories.
Three-Quarters-Century Club, June 20, 1929
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All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic