Exeter Kiwanis celebrates 100th anniversary with historic project

The Kiwanis Club of Exeter plans to rebuild a historic welcome sign that once stood in the city in the 1920’s, celebrates their 100th year in Exeter

EXETER – It is the Kiwanis Club of Exeter’s 100th anniversary this year, and to celebrate they want to build a replica of a historical sign that once stood on Highway 65 over a century ago.

After an entire century of service, the Kiwanis Club of Exeter decided to celebrate their anniversary by constructing a sign that will read “Welcome to Exeter,” on one side, and “Gateway to the Sequoias,” on the other. It will be held up by two large wind machine towers and will look similar to the original sign that was designed in 1914. It is planned to be placed on the intersection of Pine and B Street, according to member Charles Duby.

“The Kiwanis club has a deep history here in Exeter, we’ve had our hands on a lot of projects, and this is one that kind of came to fruition,“ Duby said. “[This is] something to celebrate our history, and like we’d love to make it happen. We’re going to take care of the fundraising ourselves as we’ve done for all of our projects.”

The original sign was started in 1914 and erected in 1926, and was held up by two redwood beams. Duby said getting their hands on redwood trees nowadays would mean wading through “a whole bunch of bureaucratic red tape.” Instead of replicating the project with the same type of beams, they want to use wind machine towers in their place. 

Councilwoman Barbara Sally expressed her approval and said that wind machine towers are a “part of Exeter.” The towers are used in citrus fields, a common agricultural commodity grown in the city. Mayor Franki Alves echoed a similar sentiment, and said that it was yet another “wonderful project” from the club.

“We thought this was a great idea with [the sign] right on Pine Street as you come in [to Exeter],” Duby said. “We wanted to make this thing more incorporative of the history of our area, and one of [the ways to do this] is by using wind machine towers rather than just concrete structures.”

So far, the club has not had any engineering or structural architecture assessments, nor pricing done. Rather, it is in its beginning phases of planning. Along with that, there is no estimate for when the project would be completed. However, with the council’s approval of the project, which was given in a unanimous vote at the meeting, they will now proceed with the plans. 

The Kiwanis Club of Exeter was formed on Feb. 23, 1923, just eight years after Kiwanis International was created in Detroit. Their mission and vision is to empower their communities by making lasting differences in the lives of children and to be a positive influence in their communities. They have the objective in mind to support the educational, recreational, vocational and general well-being of children and youth within Exeter and surrounding communities.

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