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Brief Biographical / Historical Sketch

History

The Pucketos (Poe-key-tos) Garden Club was created in 1933 in New Kensington, Pa., at the suggestion of T.H. Hurt, the president of a men’s garden club that was disbanding. Forty women attended the first meeting on September 14, 1933 and elected Mrs. H. Burns Smith as the first president. The club adopted its bylaws and constitution on October 2, 1933. Membership ranged from 80 women to around 60 today.

The name “Pucketos” developed as a tribute to their local history. It comes from Puckety Creek, which enters the Allegheny River, and the Pucketa Indian Trial, which runs from Export, Pa., to present day New Kensington. The activities of the club are outlined in their constitution: “to encourage the planting of gardens, to study methods of plant cultivation, to stimulate interest in cooperative gardening, to aid in the protection of wild flowers and birds, to cooperate in neighborhood betterment." Specifically, the club members participated in field trips to different gardens around Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, flower shows presented by the Pucketos and other local garden clubs, state competitions, and planting projects throughout the New Kensington area.

During the second half of the twentieth century, the club placed an increase focus on environmental protection. In 1986, Ruth Barkley, the club’s Litter Awareness Chair, created the People Against Litter program that was active through the 1990s. The focus on environmentalism continues today as multiple committees report on environmental concerns.

The Pucketos documented their activities primarily through scrapbooks of photographs and newspaper clippings, as well as yearbooks and administrative papers.