Early Days: A Chronolgy by René Welti
Aug. 3, 1954. Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Swiss Colony Celebrates Independence Day”.
The article covers the 1st of August function held at the Horse Shoe Farm in Stockbridge – “the unofficial embassy of Switzerland” - and reports on the birth of Patrick Broder, son of Hans and Margrit. Swiss club members are wearing Swiss clothes and “skull caps”. The food includes cervelats, Swiss cheese salad, bread and cake. The evening culminates with a big bonfire with both the US and Swiss flags waving over the crowd.
Dec. 4, 1954. “Samichlaus Party at Alumni Memorial Building at Emory University.”
The rate is $2.00 for members who are asked to bring a gift with a 50 cent limit.
July 31, 1955. Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Margot and Walter Hunziker Dancers at Annual Swiss Celebration.”
Having invited everyone to practice up on their Swiss songs, SAS President Michael Hack welcomes club members to the “Bundesfeier” at the Horshoe Farm in Stockbridge.
December 10, 1955. “Christmas party at the Elk’s Lodge on corner Peachtree and 4th Street.”
Includes presentation of 1956 annual program. Time and location of upcoming SAS board meetings are listed for the benefit of all members wishing to attend.
1956. “Focus on Switzerland.”
To promote increased insight and information about Switzerland among club members and friends, the Swiss American Society organizes a series of evenings featuring Swiss films and speakers.
*correction by SAS Club: The above picture is Yolanda Ruppert and not Yolanda Wallace
April 13, 1956. Atlanta Journal Constitution: “4 Swiss for 3-Year Tour of Americas”.
With a little help of the Swiss American Society of Atlanta, a group of four Swiss on their stop in Atlanta give a presentation about their journey at the Atlanta Public Library. Their purpose is to gather sound recordings, photos and material for newspaper and magazine articles.
1957. “Adolphe Michel, President”
Adolphe Michel, President presents the yearlong activities that include film showings, picnics and parties.
May 7, 1957 Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Two Swiss Swans now in Grant Park.”
A gift from Dr. Paul Kopp, mayor of Lucerne, two swans arrive in Atlanta’s Grant Park after being flown from Lucerne to New York, where they were quarantined for 2 weeks and then flown by DL to Atlanta. The gift of swans is part of “Swiss Week” in Georgia - the first such event organized in Atlanta.
July 23, 1957. Atlanta Journal Constitution: “No Negligence Ruled in Death of Swan Here"
The AJC reports the death of one of the Swiss swans. No reason or explanation is given. “I think it died of starvation and neglect,” says Michael Hack. The incident re-emphasizes the importance of maintaining the Grant Park Zoo.
February 24, 1959. Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Friendship Quilt”
A quilt made by Girl Scout Troop 2 is presented to the Swiss American Society as a gesture of friendship. The quilt will be flown to Switzerland.
November 25, 1962. Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Swiss ‘Skylift’ at Stone Mountain Park”
The Swiss Ambassador to the US; Dr. August Lindt dedicates the Swiss cable car skylift with Georgia Governor Ernest Vandiver and Atlanta Mayor Ivan All Jr. in attendance at Stone Mountain Park. The dignitaries ride up the first car ever. Mention is made of the fact that “still unannounced is the name of the sculptor who will design the Confederate Memorial at the mountain.”
Novermber 26 – 30, 1962. “Coca-Cola and Swiss Wine” (sic!)
Numerous AJC articles voice opposition against the christening of the Stone Mountain skylift using Coca-Cola and Swiss wine.
February 22, 1964. “Tenth Anniversary of Swiss American Society of Atlanta”
Swiss Club members meet at Michael Hacks home to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the club. Mr. Hans Broder, Sr. recent past President addresses the meeting and speaks about some of the highlights.
February 16, 1967. Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Party set for Swiss”.
The world premiere of the film “Switzerland and the Alps” is taking place at the Fox Theatre. Invitations have sent out by Hans Baertschi, Managing Director of the Swiss National Tourist Office in New York. Following the film, 150 invited guests will enjoy cheese fondue and Swiss wine at a reception at the Switzerland House. Gov. Lester Maddox has proclaimed February 16 “Switzerland Day” in Atlanta.
August 1, 1983. “Society stronger and better than it ever has been.”
Hans Broder Sr., President, acknowledges the original members of the club, remembers the main reasons why the Swiss American Society of Atlanta was formed and recalls the club’s purpose then and today. He also presents highlights of the first 30 years of the Swiss American Society of Atlanta, including the dedication of the Swiss cable car at Stone Mountain Park in 1962 as well as the many August 1 functions - held in Tallapoosa for three years, on Hans’s farm for many years, twice in Covington, once in Conyers and at Six Flags in 1983. Hans concludes by announcing the number of members is now 70 families. “I feel the society is stronger and better than it ever has been.”
1992. “Kurt Schlenz interviewed.”
Kurt Schlenz is interviewed by Swiss TV and Radio as part of the designation of Atlanta as the next Olympic City.
December, 1994. “Rene Welti named Atlanta Swiss Olympic Team Attaché.”
Club member Rene Welti is selected by the Swiss Olympic Committee to be the Atlanta Swiss Olympic Team Attaché.
August 26, 1995. “Meet Swiss Olympic Athletes”
Swiss American Society invites members and public to “Come and Meet some of the Swiss Olympic Athletes” at the Resto Nax. One of the evening’s highlights, the “Swiss Athlete Auction”, raises $1,385 which will go towards the upcoming Swiss Paralympic function to be held in 1996.
Pre-Olympics: ”4-pack of Athletes”
Twelve Swiss Olympic athletes visit Atlanta for a two week training at Life College in Marietta. During the training and competitions, Siegi Cadusch achieves a new Swiss high jump record of 1.95m . Anita Weyermann wins her 5000 m race. Following the event, articles authored and submitted by Lillian Hagman and Marika Barbalho appear in various Swiss Club titles. Lillian is the wife of the well liked and much admired Vice Consul, Karl Hagman. Marika is one of the Atlanta Envoys to the Swiss Olympic team.
September 20, 1995. “The SAS at Magglingen”
Ahead of the forthcoming Atlanta Olympic Games, Rene Welti travels to Switzerland’s Sporthochschule in Magglingen where he presents a banner signed by SAS members to the Swiss Olympic Committee: “The Swiss American Society of Atlanta Welcomes The Swiss Olympic Athletes”.
July 27, 1996. “Once-in-a-lifetime enjoyable evening.”
SAS-sponsored function at Resto Nax for Swiss Olympic athletes to meet Swiss-Atlantans - a once-in-a-lifetime enjoyable evening for SAS members, Swiss Olympic staff and athletes alike. The packed house enjoys excellent food and drinks prepared by Andre Constantin, proprietor, Resto Nax.
1996. “Garages R Kitchens”.
The Swiss Olympic Swiss Sports Foundation rents two houses in Roswell and hosts and entertains many Swiss Sports Foundation members. Some SAS members are fortunate to experience the hospitality with the Swiss chefs who prepare culinary delicious meals in “garages converted into kitchens”.
August 1, 1996. “Very special”
The Swiss Consulate General invites the entire Swiss Olympic team to its “Olympic 1st of August” function at Atlanta’s City Hall, with Bundesrätin Ruth Dreifuss attending. Despite a cost of $55 each (for SAS members), Swiss newspapers over the next couple of days find little reason, if any, for critical acclaim of the event.
1996. Among the world’s top 20.
Swiss Olympic Team Results: 4 Gold, 3 Silver, 7 Medals total. One of the top 20 countries out 196 who competed to win medals! The best results in 48 years of Swiss Olympic Team history.
Wine tasting at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel, in cooperation with the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce and the Consulate General of Switzerland
Swissair flies the very last Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet flight worldwide from Atlanta to Zurich. Mr. Andre Mauroux, Swissair Station Manager in Atlanta, organizes a Farewell Party at the Swissair Gate. He invites the Swiss Folklore-Laendler Group Echo des Reves from the village of Champery/VS who then entertains at the Swiss community at Resto-Nax restaurant. Another highlight in 2000 is the Jodlermesse at Peachtree Christian Church, attended by 220 people. The event is organized in cooperation with the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce and the Consulate General. The Renaissance Waverly Hotel is serving Swiss food and Swiss wine to go with the Swiss music.
The new Swiss Ambassador, Mr. Christain Blickensdorfer, is welcomed by the Swiss community with a dinner at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel.
This year brings two new initiatives: •The Atlanta International School hosts a German Christmas Market. The Swiss Club Raclette booth is a big success. •SAS President Helen Freiermuth starts a Ladies’ Luncheon group. The idea is to meet monthly for an outing, share experiences and tips, discover new areas of town, visit a museum, exhibition, shopping area, in other words come together and enjoy each other’s company.
The big event is certainly the 1953 – 2003 Reunion Picnic at the Broder’s Farm in Stockbridge. More than 200 guests celebrate the 50th anniversary of our Club, at the place where young Swiss immigrants used to meet before there was a Swiss Club. The only sad note is that Margrit Broder, the legendary host at the Horseshoe Farm, can not be part of the festivities. She lost her battle with cancer earlier in the year.
The Club year starts with the rejection of the revised bylaws. An Extraordinary General Assembly is called preceding the 1st August Party at the Martha Hope Cabin in Gainesville – this is believed to be a first in the Club’s history. The disputed issues can be cleared and the new bylaws take effect. This episode does not affect the good spirit among the growing number of members, and all the events are well attended.
With the “Serata Ticinese” the Board introduces another new feature in the SAS year. Ticino is the first region of Switzerland to be highlighted in what will hopefully become a yearly event. We enjoy regional culinary specialties, typical music and some background information about Ticino, but most of all it is a good excuse to spend an evening with friends.
The “swiss roots” campaign by the official Swiss representations in the US is designed to motivate Americans of Swiss heritage to discover their roots and to get to know Switzerland, to foster the exchange between Switzerland and the US, and to strengthen the US – Swiss relations in general. Numerous events are held all over the country. In Atlanta we participate by organizing the 1st August Party together with the Consulate General in a much grander fashion than usual. Alphorn-Bläser and a Fahnenschwinger entertain not only Swiss Club Members, but also their many American guests, invited at the expense of the Consulate. The menu of course: Bratwurst, Härdöpfelsalat, bread and dessert. The guests can take home not only good memories, but also a bag full of Swiss keepsakes. This year’s featured region is Graubünden – Gerstensuppe, Capuns and Engadiner Nusstorte!