From the club’s founding in 1876, AMC’s early membership was concentrated in the Boston area. To communicate with members farther afield, AMC maintained a Committee on Distant Membership. But interest in AMC’s core mission—recreation and conservation—was growing.
By 1904, an informal group of New York City-based members had assembled, and in 1912 they were officially recognized as the “New York Section.” A few years later, and closer to AMC’s home base, a group in Worcester, Mass., began meeting. In response, the Committee on Distant Membership adopted a plan in June 1918 to create official regional chapters. The New York Section became the New York Chapter (and, in 1983, expanded into the New York–North Jersey Chapter), and the Worcester Chapter was established. From that foundation grew the AMC chapter system that celebrates its centennial this year.
The next chapter to form was short lived: The Southern Chapter, established in 1920, quickly broke away and became the independent Carolina Mountain Club. The following year was more successful, with the creation of the Connecticut, Narragansett, and Merrimack Valley chapters (the latter eventually becoming the New Hampshire Chapter) all in 1921. The Berkshire Chapter followed in 1929; Maine in 1956; Delaware Valley in 1963; Southeastern Massachusetts in 1976; Washington, D.C. (now Potomac), in 1984; and, finally, Mohawk Hudson in 1998. In an odd quirk, Boston wasn’t formally recognized as its own chapter until 1975.