The founders, namely Harry McDonald, Gordon Anderson, and William Swanfeld, organized the first meeting of the club, which was held on November 6, 1933, in the Modern Woodmen of America Hall located at 2031 W. First Street in Duluth, MN
The intent of this new organization was to further the social, educational, and civic interests of the Club members. At the second meeting on November 13th, 1933, a committee selected at the previous meeting to present a name for the club brought in a list, among them were one suggested by Sylvester Patrick, that being the All American Club. This name was selected by the membership and the original Club by-laws were adopted. A slate of permanent officers was elected, they being Harry McDonald, President; Gordon Anderson, Vice-President; Oscar Lindau, Secretary; and Carl Ekman, Treasurer. The Board of Directors included Edward Tambornino, Earl Carpenter, Wilfred Peterson, William Swanfeld, John Tambornino, Russell Wendelholm, Herbert Melby, and Lief Stockness. Seven well attended meetings were held during the remainder of 1933.
During the year of 1934, the Club hosted several activities, such as dances, speakers at meetings, and interest in civic affairs.
On January 28, 1935, the All American Club moved to the Norway Hall located at 115 N 23rd Ave West in Duluth and immediately inaugurated Sunday night dances in order to bolster the finances of the Club. These particular dances were held each Sunday for a period of more than two years. At Norway Hall we enjoyed the largest membership of our organization, 247 regular members. Our stay at this location was short-lived however, as this building was purchased by Standard Brands.
On June 10, 1935 we commenced holding our Club meetings at the Curtis Hotel, this being for only a few months in duration, with the balance of the year being held at the Y O T Hall (location unknown). In January of 1935 we moved to Liberty Hall located at 2125 W Superior Street, at which place we took over complete rental of the facilities. Continuing our Sunday dances and having kenos, we did well at this location. In February 1937, through an error in our lease we were compelled to relinquish this location, much to our sorrow. We tried to continue our dances at the Y O T Hall but suffered too many reverses and finally had to give them up.
The balance of 1937-1939 were dismal years for the Club. In the fall of 1939, the Club sponsored a football team in the Duluth Amateur Athletic Association. These games were well attended, with one of the Club members, Roger Holt, being a member of the team.
Many attempts were made to secure the Club rooms and success was not to come until January of 1940, where the present-day location was selected, 1931 W Michigan Street. Much work was done in this effort by members Leo Royer and William Swanfeld. This location at the time was in a deplorable condition. Considerable effort was required by a group of members to put it in a favorable condition for a club room. At the outset we had numerous difficulties in this building. On March 31st, 1940 we were in the most serious financial position since the inception of the Club, with a total of $21.40 being in our bank account.
Better days were to follow for the All American Club. In 1945 the Club put forth a huge remodeling program at a cost of about $20,000. This made the All American Club one of the most modern club rooms in this area. In August of 1950 a heating unit was installed in our building, the cost being brought down considerably by loyal members contributing their work toward its installation.
In the years of 1945-1946 the Club sponsored the Trinity Ministrels, the purpose being to help purchase an additional Tuberculosis x-ray unit. Two benefits were held with $1,000 being contributed towards this worthy cause each year.
The Club on numerous occasions have sponsored baseball and hockey teams for kids, especially in this West End part of the city. The Club has also sponsored adult hockey, softball, curling, golf, billiards, and cribbage teams. The Club has had some highly successful teams in its history, especially with curling. Some of the best curlers in the world have been members of the All American Club.
Each year the Club has held a Christmas party for the members’ children, an annual Stag, a Spring Stag, and an annual Club Picnic. The Christmas party and Club Picnic continue to this day.
Read more about the Modern Woodmen of America Hall below!