By Martie Thompson

It was a different era in many ways when the precursor to the organization now known as the Mandarin Community Club was first formed back in 1917 — it was just prior to the United States entering what is now known as World War I. According to Club President Emily Lisska, a group from Mandarin formed a Liberty League, which assisted with war efforts and other patriotic services and events.

“We are proud of the longevity of our organization,” Lisska said. “It’s still such a timely story, of the village, or community, of Mandarin supporting certainly the most profound event at the time, known then as the ‘Great War.’”

Lisska recounted that as the Great War ended in 1918, this patriotic group’s purpose suddenly was gone. The members enjoyed being together and were also now being asked to help with other community issues. So, although it took nearly five years, the Mandarin Community Club officially formed in July 1923 with the same officers as the prior Liberty League.

The organization is not to be confused with the Mandarin Community Club building located on Mandarin Road, which was actually Mandarin’s school at the time. Lisska said that in 1936 the school closed and that is when the building was given to the Mandarin Community Club organization by Edwin Jones and Carrmina Jones.

“There is a lot of history now to that building,” Lisska said. “But it started with a lot of history as it was more than half a century old by the time the building was given to the Mandarin Community Club organization.”

This historic building was the site of the club’s special anniversary celebration, which was themed a silent film night to reflect the time of the original founding. On July 27, community members came out to view three silent films, called “shorts” due to their length, that featured Buster Keaton. Live music enhanced the films, just like the old days. The event was coordinated by events chair, Ellen Milligan, a Ramsgate resident.

“It really was heartwarming to see such a great turnout for our special event,” Lisska said. “It was a really fun evening with families and children. Everyone enjoyed hot dogs and movie candy.”

Today, the Mandarin Community Club hosts a variety of events for members and the community over the course of each year, including a tree giveaway, an official U.S. Flag Retirement Ceremony, and a tribute to veterans in November. The Mandarin Community Club also hosts the annual Mandarin Art Festival on Easter weekend and cosponsors the Third Thursday Lecture Series with the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society.

For more information, visit their website, or call the Club office (268-1622)

Photo courtesy Bernie Gross

There was a large turnout for the Mandarin Community Club’s 95th anniversary celebration, a silent movie night held at the club building on Mandarin Road.

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