The Last of Its Kind: The Orchard Homes Country Life Club

By SILKE JAUCK

We have several “The Last of Its Kind” things in Missoula. With the gardening season on a six-month break and hiking slowing down, I have more time to blog about them.

Most of you may not be familiar with the Orchard Homes Country Life Club (OHCLC). It’s located on Third Street, just off the intersection with Reserve. It is the last Country Life Club (CLC) in the entire United States. It is truly the last of its kind.

As one can read on the OHCLC website:

“In 1906, the original building was constructed using volunteer labor and donated materials, on land donated by W.H. Warren.

“From 1906 to 1910, the only allowable use of the building was for religious services, causing the youths in the area to form the Orchard Homes Literary Society. They held meetings in an old log cabin on the Edward Miller property called the ‘Onion House.’

The Orchard Homes Country Life Club in Missoula Montana

“In 1908, President Teddy Roosevelt formed a Commission on Country Life, which started a movement encouraging ways to make country life more attractive. He believed that rural America was the ‘backbone of our nation’, but rural life was at risk due to the modernization of America and migration of people to the city.

“By 1910, the Onion House was too crowded, and religious services were no longer being held at what was then known as the Orchard Homes Union Sunday School. The Literary Society members started a petition to make the building available for non-religious events, and to join the Country Life movement started by President Roosevelt. Finally, in 1911, the club was incorporated as the Orchard Homes Country Life Club.”

Today, the OHCLC still serves as a community center for residents Orchard Homes and Target Range.

There is a membership of $15.00 per adult and I proudly joined a year ago. Regular pot luck dinners are held once or twice a month, and the clubhouse can be rented. In the summer, OHCLC hosts our local farmer’s market on Thursday afternoons. Everyone is welcome to participate in our programs.

Come and visit the last remaining Country Life Club in the United States!

Happy trails,

Silke

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Check out Silke’s other posts about walks and hikes in and around Missoula or visit her Make it Missoula blog archive.

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Silke Jauck is a German native and Missoulian by choice. She and her family have packed and unpacked their suitcases and moving boxes in four continents and have finally settled in Missoula and called it home.

She lives with her husband, three daughters, and a dwarf rabbit in the Target Range neighborhood. Silke is the publisher of Friendship Book, a made-in-Montana keepsake and activity book for children ages 6-12. She also has a blog about life hacks at Silke Good Ideas, and you can visit her Make it Missoula blog archive.