History of the 1414 Club

Early in 1986 the Kelso Alano Club was forced to close their doors because of a problem with the high cost of insurance. The members of that club divided up most of the furniture, coffee pots and such. What was not taken was stored at Anita H.’s house. In the spring, a garage sale was held and the money was put into a bank account. It was soon apparent how much the club was missed. Late in 1987 a meeting was held at the VFW Hall in Longview for those interested in getting a new club started. After some discussion the board members from the Kelso Club offered around $600 to put toward a new club. Also people who wanted to be charter members paid $50 for a single person or $75 per family to help add to the start up money. Clarke S. and Elmer F. volunteered to look for a suitable building. We also voted on a set of by-laws.

After a few weeks of calling real estate agencies and looking at empty buildings Elmer and Clarke found the old Kawasaki dealership at 1414 12th Ave. They felt it had enough space for three or four meeting rooms and also plenty of area for social gatherings. When some of the charter members went to look for the first time we were a hard pressed to see the potential. The very back of the building had been used to do oil changes and maintenance on motorcycles. It was pretty gruesome and would need lots of cleaning. The front area had brown shag carpet, probably there since the early 1970’s. It was cold and damp that day and there had been no heat in the building for sometime. It echoed whenever anyone walked across the floor. However Clarke and Elmer were sure it was the right place for the price of the rent and the rest of us agreed. Maybe we didn’t agree but no one else wanted to look for something so we went along with their decision. We needed a name to take to the city to get a business license and so just used the address of the building for that purpose. It wasn’t particularly clever but it did the job. We knew we would have to add another restroom and do lots of painting and cleaning.

Sears was leaving its Commerce Ave. address to go to The Three Rivers Mall. Sears was auctioning off many things and Erv C. and Sue F. went to see if there was anything to buy which could be used at the club. The big yellow swayback kitchen tables were purchased that day. We found chairs several different places and managed to get paint donated and a TV which continually rolled. A cash register was given to us but after a few days it was evident a new one was needed. It was a good investment as it was just recently replaced which means we got over 20 years out of it.

The building was rented in March of 1988 and it took a few weeks of cleaning and painting before the grand opening in April. Many of the charter members are still around. Lots of changes have taken place and several of those so important to getting the doors open have passed away. The club continues to be a central place in the recovery community. Stop by and see us. We open 7 days a week at 11:00 a.m.