Guide to the Brookdale Club Collection (1920-1995) – History

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Brookdale is a small town located in the San Lorenzo Valley of Santa Cruz County.  In 1900, Judge Logan named the area Clear Creek and in 1902 the town got a post office and was renamed Brookdale.  Brookdale was a popular spot for those living in surrounding Bay Area cities; many families built their summer homes here.  One of the first to build in Brookdale was H.C. Capwell of Oakland, his home on Huckleberry Island was the first site of the Brookdale Club meetings.

The Brookdale Club emerged out of the desire of the summer residents to have organized social meetings and events.  By 1916 plans for the club had formed but were put on hold due to World War I.  After the war, plans were resumed and on August 5, 1920 the Brookdale Club was formed and in 1922 it was incorporated.

The intention of the club, as stated on their letter of incorporation is to “promote the civic and social welfare of the people residing in the village of Brookdale …”  According to the early by-laws, the club concerned itself with “Friendliness, sociability, and civic affairs.”  In addition to being a social club for the summer residents, the members organized to help raise money for fire fighting and fire prevention in the area.  In 1921 the club purchased land along the river.  In the summer of 1926 the Judkins Memorial Hall was purchased for use as a permanent clubhouse.  The club leased land from the Southern Pacific Company in 1923 and during the 1940s purchased land from Mrs. Logan.

In the early years of the club only property owners were able to become members.  Prospective members were nominated and accepted by a membership committee; annual dues were $6.00.  Membership was limited to 100, not including honorary members.  The actual membership fluctuated greatly throughout the life of the club with a low of only 15 members during the depression era.  The procedure for membership was outlined in the by-laws.  In the 1950s the club became a year-round organization, since many more people were permanent residents of Brookdale.  Members enjoyed regular social events put on by the club during the summer months, including: dances, musical performances, children’s parties, and various other activities.  On the third Thursday of each month the club would hold a social event.  Guests (non-members) were permitted to attend the social activities.  Other annual events were the Presidents Luncheon, Past Presidents Luncheon, and the Club Birthday Party.

The club leadership consited of officers, a board of directors, and an advisory board.  The officers included a president, a first vice president, a second vice president, treasurer, auditor, secretary and corresponding secretary.  These officers were also part of the board of directors.  New officer elections were conducted every year in August.  Business meetings were held monthly or by member request.  There were also standing committees for membership, program, hospitality, house, garden, reservations, publicity, finance, sunshine and telephone, and historian, all of which were described in the by-laws.

By the 1990s the club faced tough decisions with membership decreasing and costs of maintaining the clubhouse increasing.  In 1995 the organization decided to sell the clubhouse.  It was purchased in September of that year, and thus marked the end of the Brookdale Club.


1900     Judge Logan declared the area Clear Creek
1902     Clear Creek renamed Brookdale
1920     The Brookdale Club was officially organized by Mrs. Capwell and Mrs. Breed
1922     The Brookdale Club was incorporated
1923     The club leased land from the Southern Pacific Company
1926     Judkins Memorial Hall property was purchased for clubhouse
1949     Club becomes year-round
1949     In September the clubhouse was repaired by Lewis Hayes
1966     Fire at the clubhouse
1971     Water company easement
1984     The Brookdale Club Cookbook was published
1995     Clubhouse sold to Randy and Christine Wood and the club disbanded