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Early Meetings

Charter member Lillian Benedict remembered:  “In the early years it was customary to have lunch at the [Burlingham] Tea Room [on Chestnut Street], and since for the first few years women did not drive cars, to walk or take the trolley to a member’s home for a meeting.  The dues for many years were 50 cents and a 5 cent fine if we were late.”

Because meetings were held at first in member homes, membership was limited to 50.  Prospective new members had to wait for a vacancy and audition before the membership, which then voted on the candidate.

Most members lived on trolley or bus routes, but one notable home outside downtown Binghamton was that of Laura MacClary, 5th President of Harmony Club, who lived with her husband, County Judge Thomas A. MacClary, in a historic home built in 1799, known as Washingtonian Hall on River Road in Endwell.

June meetings were reserved for relaxation and fun.  Some years a luncheon was held at the Binghamton Country Club or the Kalurah Country Club (which later became the IBM Homestead, site of what is now Traditions at the Glen). 

Even more popular for June meetings were picnics at summer cottages owned by some of the members.  Hannah Thomas had a cottage on Oteyokwa Lake in Hallstead PA.  Lois Randall had a camp in Silver Lake PA.  These June cottage meetings continued into the early 1950’s.

Over the years, meetings began to be held in public locations, such as Weeks & Dickinson Music Store, McLean and Haskins Music Store, Fowler’s Department Store Tea Room, and the Roberson Museum (50s and 60s).  Other meetings took place at clubs like the Masonic Temple (now First Assembly of God Church) and the Monday Afternoon Club (meeting in what is now known as the Phelps Mansion).

With so many of Harmony Club’s members serving as church musicians, it was only a matter of time before churches became meeting venues as well, especially First Congregational, Tabernacle Methodist, and West Presbyterian.  In the early 50’s many meetings were held in the Parish House of Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church.  Today, most meetings are held in area churches and are open to the public.

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