Portia Club receives recognition, pushes out reopening

A photo of the clubhouse showing tulips planted by Cleo Thompson and volunteers from the Payette Valley Gardeners in full bloom, courtesy of The Friends of the Portia Club.

PAYETTE — A location in Payette known to the local community as a popular venue for meetings and events, the Portia Club, is eyeing its reopening pending an order from Idaho Governor Brad Little.

The Club had to close as part of the governor’s stay at home order in light of the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and members had last announced a possible reopening on May 4, however it may be mid-June now.

Cleo Thompson, with The Friends of the Portia Club, said in a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon that they are tentatively planning on a June 15 opening based on what Little says in regard to businesses opening. Thompson said that the Club already has three reservations for events when it reopens, but will need to monitor the amount of guests that are allowed in at one time.

“I’ll have to call and see if they have more than fifty people,” said Thompson of group size limits that will be enacted with the state’s reopening plan.

Despite being closed, the club has recently received national recognition.

“The Portia Club was chosen by The National Trust for Historic Preservation in their effort to highlight places across America where women have made history. The Portia Club clubhouse along with the accomplishments of the Portia Club women and the restoration project by the Friends of the Portia Club are all acknowledged in the listing,” states the release.

The program used to identify 1,000 places across the United States where women made history was launched by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This program coincides with the 100th anniversary of American women gaining the right to vote and serves as a commemoration. 

“As part of this effort, Dan Everhart, Outreach Historian, with the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) wrote a short history of the Portia Club Clubhouse and the lasting influence the Portia Club women had on the City of Payette. He highlighted the women founding the city library, funding free health clinics for children, organizing the Payette Apple Blossom Festival, sponsoring lectures concerning laws dealing with women and children, debating women’s issues, and working to expose the citizens of Payette to art and literature,” the release states.

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