The streets of 1920s Dayton, Washington, hummed with activity from such businesses as RD Sayres Department Store, Monroe & Sons Florists, a bank and a bar and cigar shop.

Dayton Kiwanis Club would have drawn from these businesses for members when it formed in 1922, making it an early chapter of the international service group founded in 1914 as a strictly fraternal club open solely to young professional businessmen.

Dayton Kiwanians will host a 100th birthday celebration dinner at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. Reservations must be made by Sept. 10. The $50 tickets are available at the Dayton Chamber of Commerce office, 202 E. Main St., or by calling Belinda Larsen at 509-382-4825, Gary Schroeder at 509-629-2471, or contacting a Dayton Kiwanis member.

Club member Terry Nealey said The Q Wood-Fired Grill will cater the rib and salmon meal. The celebration will be at The Barn at Blue Meadows, 828 N. Touchet Road, southeast of Dayton in the foothills of the Blue Mountains.

To get there from U.S. Highway 12, which is also Main Street in Dayton, turn south on Fourth Street, which becomes North Touchet Road at the south edge of town. Continue on North Touchet Road approximately 7.5 miles and turn at the Barn at Blue Meadows sign on the right side.

After the dinner, a program will showcase the history of Dayton Kiwanis and its local and global community service projects.

In its first iteration, the neophyte Kiwanis was dubbed the clunky Supreme Lodge Benevolent Order Brothers. But notes that members quickly tired of belonging to a fraternity known as “BOB.”

They adapted the Native American phrase “NunKeewan-is” for the club name. Its meaning was defined over time to mean, “We have a good time — we make noise.”

To better reflect what they do, they subsequently devised the motto “We Build.” Then, in 2005, during Kiwanis’ 90th anniversary year, international convention delegates voted for the motto “Serving the Children of the World.”

Service to the community and its special concern for the welfare of children took firm root early on as new chapters formed in Detroit and Cleveland, and more than a century later the work of its members continues worldwide.

Annie Charnley Eveland is retired from the Union-Bulletin as a 42-year newspaper editor, columnist and journalist. A freelance writer, she produces the Etcetera column in the U-B. Send news with contact name and daytime phone number to or call 509-386-7369.

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