Walter Betschart, Buddy Kaiser, Eddie Albert

Al Wagner, Joe Bricker, Walter Christen, Joe Widmer

Arnold Kaiser, Clements Ott  

Arnold Rothein, Louie Burch, Joe Petrig, Louie Blattler

The first Swiss club in San Joaquin Valley was formed in Stanislaus County in 1920 at Yori's Grove, Modesto California.  It was a social gathering of the Swiss Italians and the Swiss Germans.  The spirit of the fellowship as expressed in the Swiss motto, "One For All And All For One", has been passed down from one generation to the next.

The Swiss German people were more active in sporting events such as "schwinging"  (Swiss wrestling) and the tug-of-war contests.  Tug-of-war contests were made up of two teams; the Swiss Germans on one side and the Swiss Italians on the other.  The contests were taken very seriously and it was reported that this competition contributed to the division of the two groups into the present separate clubs.

The Swiss German people formed the San Joaquin Valley Swiss Club in 1926. There were 16 original charter members:  Arnold Bucher and Joe Bucher of Ripon; Joe Bucher of Lathrop; John Bucher, Henry Engler, Arnold Kaiser,

In 1945, the wrestling arena was enlarged, moving from the east side of the hall to the south side.  Again, a contest was held and tickets were sold by Agnes Inderbitzin-Fleutsch, EdaMae Kaiser-Betschart, Elsie Ott-Holdener, Erna Rothlin-Trinkler, and Aileen Beeler-Kaiser to fund the grandstands project.  Aileen Beeler-Kaiser was crowned for selling the most tickets.

In 1947, the San Joaquin Valley Swiss Echoes was first organized under the direction of John Meyer.  There were 28 Charter Members.  The group became members of the United Swiss Singing Societies of the Pacific Coast in 1948 and participated in the Los Angeles Sängerfest. 

 

In 1973, the outdoor stage was constructed to accommodate entertainers during the Schwingfests and Song & Jodelfests.  In 1975, 3.91 acres were purchased to ensure more parking space around the club hall.  In 1985, the dining room was remodeled to add a new commercial kitchen funded by the Küche Kästli Köchbuch committee.  A schwinger shed was erected for the boys to use for practice.  A wall along the west side of the property with tree planting and landscaping plus a new memorial entrance was completed.  The tree planting was funded by individual donations in memory of the members’ loved ones.

In 2001, the Swiss Club decided to sell the northern section of bare land that lines Stouffer Street for residential lots to a developer.  Due to citizens’ concerns to develop the entrance to the park, the City of Ripon stepped in and purchased the property.  Funds from the sale will be used to remodel/update the hall facilities.

San Joaquin Valley Swiss Club Inc.

 

PAST PRESDIENTS

 

 

1929

A. Mathis

1930-31

Arnold Rothlin

1932

Martin Chischott

1933-35

Anton Betschart

1935-36

Paul Rupf

1937-38

Arnold (Buddy) Kaiser

1939

Fred Ott

1940-41

Walter Christen

1942

Otto Bach (war started)

1942-44

Arnold Kaiser

1945

Joe Bricker

1946

Fred Ott Sr.

1947

Paul Anderholden

1948

Bill Scheuber

1949

Paul Rupf

1950

Bill Scheuber

1951-53

Carol Ott Jr.

1954

Paul Rupf

1955-56

Fred Ott Jr.

1957-58

Louie Beeler

1959-60

Frank Albert

1961-63

Hans Wagner

1964-66

Louie Durrer Sr.

1967-74

Louie Marchy

1975-76

Werner Wagner

1977-79

Wendel Trinkler Sr.

1980-81

Carl Ott Jr.

1982-83

Ken Hafer

1984-85

Adolph Beeler

1986-87

George Schmidig

1988-89

Joe Berchtold Sr.

1990-91

Frank Beeler

1992-93

Susie Beeler

1994-96

Frank Beeler

1997-99

Rosemary Marty

2000-01

Tom Kaech

2002-04

Current

Louie Durrer Jr.

Don Widmer

Club History

Werner Kaiser, Wendel Kiser Sr., Gus Kreuzer, Oscar Kuenzler, Adolph "Bill" Scheuber, Konrad Reichenbach, Bill Muller, Carl Ott Sr., and Joe Ott Sr., of Modesto; and Nick Frunz of   Patterson California.  Halls were rented from various other organizations in the vicinity for the dances, schwingfests, schutzenfests, card parties, theater plays, and concerts by outside special Swiss entertainers.  The Constitution and Bylaws are dated June 19, 1927.

In 1938, property was purchased in Ripon from three Swiss, namely Louie Blattler, Alfred Filliger, and Albert Wagner.  The membership had grown and Ripon was the center point of the community.  In 1939, lumber was available from the site of the World's Fair at Treasure Island in San Francisco.  Most of the lumber, trusses, doors, hardwood flooring, etc., were bought at a minimum price and hauled to Ripon by the Joe Petrig hay trucks in Tracy.  The building committee consisted of Louie Blattler, Arnold Kaiser, Clements Ott Sr., Arnold Rothlin Sr., Joe Petrig, and the master carpenter, Louie Burch of Modesto.  Construction of the dance hall and bar areas were put up by all volunteer work of the membership.  The hall was officially opened with a dedication ceremony in 1941.  Carl Ott Sr., was the successful bidder for the key to open the doors to their new Swiss hall.  To help finance the project a ticket selling campaign was held.  Three young ladies sold tickets.  Ida Petrig-Williams, Germain Widmer-Imhof, and Nita Kaiser-Wagner.  The one selling the most tickets was to be Queen of the Swiss Hall.  Nita Kaiser-Wagner was crowned at the Grand Opening Ceremony.

The highlights of the Swiss Echoes were in hosting the first California Swiss Singing & Jodeling Festival in 1956, being hosts for the 10th Pacific Coast Swiss Singing and Jodeling Festival in 1960,  the 16th Pacific Coast Swiss Singing and Jodeling Festival in 1978, and the 24th Pacific Coast Swiss Singing and Jodeling Festival in 2002.

In 1953, a dinner room was added to the dance hall.  In 1956, an adjoining 1.1 acres of land was purchased and in 1957 the caretaker's house and garage was built.

In 1959, the Ripon Schwinger Club was formed and affiliated with the SJVSC.  Two big events of the year are the Spring and Fall Schwingfests (Swiss style wrestling).  There have been many schwingers from Switzerland that have competed in Ripon, as well as some of our schwingers going to Switzerland to compete at their schwingfests, bringing home beautiful prizes of Swiss bells, plagues, wood carving, etc.  The boys wrestle in age groups of 6-8, 9-11, 12-14, juniors 15-17, and seniors 18 and up.  Many sawdust rings at individual homes were put in for the young and older boys to practice under the direction of some capable and faithful coaches.

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