Club Sport Uniao Madeirense History

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Thanks to the vision, faith and commitment of newly arrived men and women from their native Madeira Island, Portugal in the era preceding 1920 and shortly thereafter, Club Sport União Madeirense was
officially born in the summer of 1923. Referred to by some as Club Madeirense or Madeira Club, by others, it became a home away from home, a beacon for men and women of Madeirense extraction, their
friends, their guests and a place to socialize and reminisce.

As time went on the present quarters have become a venue for community use and public rentals. The beginnings of Club Madeirense were modest--a small storefront on Broad Street near Hunt Street. But it
was a huge step upward from get together in an archway under the railroad tracks between High and Division Streets and sometimes under a large tree facing High Street... About to enter it 85 years of
existence in the summer of 2008, the Club has survived the Big Depression, World War II and growing pains which at one stage generated internal tensions of a significant nature.

But the faith and spirit which gave birth to the Club prevailed and it moved on. As the founders gloried in their initial space, they realized it was cramped and while many small functions served the
membership there was need for bigger quarters. So in time it moved up the street to a larger site at Broad and Division Streets here it blossomed, providing a hall and general space which enabled the holding of dinners, card tournaments and varied social activities. A soccer team was formed as was a folklore group and a musical band, While outside instructors and others were added to the activities, the founding
fathers formed the backbone and,. In some instances, sons and daughters participated, particularly in the folklore group.

A new generation, soon to become prominent in the Club, was emerging. The musical band was much in demand to perform at various feasts throughout the area. The folklore groups were well respected as
was a very competitive soccer team. While the Broad-Divison street quarters were a vast step upward from the first location and a busy social life became possible, the founders longed for more: ownership
of their own property and the opportunity to expand and grow. Such opportunity presented itself with the availability of a site on Grove Street, Central Falls. The Madeira commitment and spirit asserted
itself again.

Members pledged loans of various amounts--to be repaid at interest rates lower than the market rates. The new two story state of the art building rose and was a source of great pride, particularly for the
founders. The war tempered some of the enthusiasm and also impeded the new generation from actively joining and participating in the Club. Hardly a family among the founders did not escape the war impact.
One, son, sometimes and three sons entered military service. Some made the supreme sacrifice. Following the end of the War the membership of the Club was augmented by sons and daughters, their.
spouses, relatives and friends of the founders. The face of the Club was changing. as the new generation gradually assumed leadership roles. Despite the previously mentioned internal strife, which created
significant tensions. The organization resolved its issues and moved on. Along the line the founders never forgot their roots. It introduced the Feast Of The Nossa Senhora Do Monte (Our Lady Of The Mount), the patron saint of Madeira. The feast is held annually in August, It draws persons of all backgrounds and is a highlight of the year's activities.

Another highlight moment in the history of the Club was the recognition of its role in the community. The City Government renamed Grove Street to Madeira Avenue. The Club was one of the first in the
area to realize such an honor. Through the next two decades, the Club underwent numerous changes— in its leadership and in the building itself.

The financial struggles were at times challenging. But the spirit was always there. Upgrading of the original building, development of additional parking and general development was accomplished-actions
which continue as the officers strive to meet membership needs as well as facilities rentals. As the years rolled on the original members were retiring and In many cases passing on. The new
generation carried on and kept the original dream alive despite sometimes-rocky times.

In the 1970's and 80's Congressional legislation liberalized quotas for certain European countries and a new wave of Madeirense and other Portuguese men and women arrived in the United States and
settled in the area. Club Sport Uniâo Madeirense was attractive to them and many became active members. Liberalized eligibility criteria welcomed new membership so that today persons of non-
Madeirense extraction have important leadership role and are responsible for the forward strides being made by the Club.

And the new generations are becoming active, important members. Today as the Club enters its 90th year of being it looks forward to the future with anticipation and a continuing social home for its many
members and friends. Keeping pace with administrative and technological evolution of the times the Club has computerized its administrative and financial affairs and presents a stable and professional
organization. It is a far cry from the antiquated hand written records and other administrative functions. The Club looks forward to continued upgrading of the building, its traditional social events for members
and their many guests. In 10 years Club Sport Uniâo Madeirense of Central Falls will mark its historic 100th Anniversary.

It is reasonable to expect that the present officers and most of the members --and new generations will gather for a festive and glorious celebration.

It all started under the railroad tracks and a nearby tree. The dream has been sustained by hundreds of dedicated men and women driven by the original dream. The founding fathers would be proud!

JQC

 

 

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