The year is 1959. Alaska and Hawaii become our 49th and 50th states. The Barbi doll makes its debut. NASA introduces its first astronaut class known as the Mercury Seven. The United States launches the first weather satellite into space. Abroad, Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba. In Britain, the iconic Mini is born.
In Richmond, the capital of Virginia, a group of Porsche enthusiasts organize and petition to become part of the Porsche Club of America (PCA). The original charter dated April 22, 1959 lists the name as the Richmond Region.
Porsche ownership in 1959 was quite rare. Consider just nine years earlier (1950), the first Porsche 356 was imported into New York City by Max Hoffman. Four years earlier (1955), the Porsche Club of America was founded. Just three years earlier (1956), Porsche AG celebrated the 10,000th Porsche 356 rolling off the assembly line.
The Richmond Region was significantly smaller in territory than the First Settlers Region of today. Records indicate members from outside this defined territory participated in Club events and served as officers – a practice that continues to today.
When did the name change to First Settlers? While the exact date of the name change is uncertain, club documents provided to the PCA indicate it was between May 15, 1964 and December 31, 1964.
Early region reports offer some clues as to how the PCA measured the success of a region as well as how the Richmond Region performed.
The 1961 Region Report highlights the exclusivity of the Club. The Region listed 25 active members with an average attendance of 10-15 for meetings and 8-10 for events. Meetings are held every two months but not regularly. The Club offered picnics, dinner meetings, and technical sessions. All three of the officers lived in Richmond. We also see our first female officer, Mrs. Evelyn Applewhite, who serves as Treasurer, Secretary, and the official mailing address for the Club.
In 1963, the Club reported the same 25 members but attendance averaged 12 for meetings and events. That year the Club held a picnic, two tours, and a concours.
By the start of 1965, the Region changed its name and expanded. All three of the officers lived in Norfolk. The membership total remained flat at 25 members. The Club noted plans to publish a newsletter that year and a contest was on to name it. We also see our second female officer, Mrs. Jean Hughes, who also serves as Treasurer and Secretary.
The 1967 Region Report is the first time the board lists the same six officer format FSR uses today: President, Eastern Vice President, Western Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Activities Chairman. The membership grew to 29. This is also the first time PCA is taking attendance for its board meetings.
Over the years, Porsche enthusiasts throughout the state began to organize new regions to make it easier for members to participate in events. In 1980, Porsche enthusiasts in the western part of Virginia met in Roanoke to begin the process which led to the charter of the Blue Ridge Region. In 1995, Porsche enthusiasts, many of whom were active FSR members, met in Waynesboro to begin the process to form a new region. Shenandoah was chartered August 6, 1995 to serve Central Virginia. With each new charter, FSR said farewell to part of its family.
In 1999, FSR expanded again to the current boundaries that exiss today – from Fredericksburg south to the North Carolina line and from Farmville east to Chincoteague. In addition to Blue Ridge and Shenandoah, First Settlers shares boundaries with Potomac, Chesapeake, and Hurricane regions.
The First Settlers Region has grown to over 700 households. Our members own the greatest variety of cars than ever in its history. One thing has remained true, Club membership is the best option for Porsche owners to get the most enjoyment from their cars.