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Memories Day Returns To Local Museum
Riverbank Clubhouse pix
A reproduction photo of the Riverbank Clubhouse, with owner John McDonald standing in front. It is printed on the cover of the farewell program for the venues 1984 closing concert. The clubhouse and its activities will be the subject of a Nov. 9 Memories Day presentation by local historian James McAndrews. Riverbank Historical Society Archives Photo

The Riverbank Historical Society’s Memories Day get together will return to the Museum next week, according to society officials.

The 11 a.m. event will follow the group's annual meeting, which begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9. Both will be held at the museum, 3237 Santa Fe St., in downtown Riverbank. Both events are open to the public.

Presenter James McAndrews, Jr. will be speaking on the Riverbank Clubhouse, a popular country music concert hall that was on Sierra Street, near the city water tank, between First and Second streets.

According to museum records, “People from all over flocked to Riverbank to hear the voices of country stars like Ernest Tubbs, Ferlin Husky, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, The Maddox Brothers and Rose and many, many others.”

The legal capacity was said to be 300 people, but it was routinely exceeded during special evenings, which drew as many as 2,000 in paid performances. A sign on the door warned patrons to ‘keep out’ – if they didn’t want to have fun.

McAndrews is a 1984 graduate of Riverbank High School who has received an AA degree from Modesto Junior College, a BA in History with a minor in Political Science, then a Masters in History, both from Stanislaus State University.

He has taught at both Modesto Junior College and UC Merced.

As an author, he has been writing on local history for 15 years in a local newspaper, and has been a docent and member of the board of directors of the Great Valley Museum for an equal amount of time.

McAndrews said he’s working on a novel about Riverbank and recently wrote an article about the clubhouse that was published locally.

Society organizers note, “Memories Day events are an attempt to preserve Riverbank history and we ask people coming to bring any mementos, photos or stories” when they attend the program.