Special for the Record & Landmark
The General Federation of Women’s Clubs of NC (GFWC of NC) Statesville Woman’s Club has a long history in Statesville. The Statesville Woman’s Club (SWC) was organized in 1920 and incorporated in 1927. The same year the SWC was incorporated, they purchased the house at 515 W. End Ave. to serve as a clubhouse, with an official opening on September 13. 1927.
Six months later, in February 1928, the clubhouse was almost completely burnt down. With great courage and determination, the women of the SWC had the house rebuilt in the summer of 1928 and held their first meeting in the current clubhouse in December 1928.
The historic SWC clubhouse has been the home of Statesville in many ways. For 95 years, the Statesville Woman’s Clubhouse has been a hub of cultural, educational, and political growth and enlightenment for the communities served by the SWC. How many of you or your families have attended weddings, receptions, showers, political forums, poetry readings or book clubs at the SWC Clubhouse?
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Did you know the Statesville Public Library shots took place in the clubhouse meeting room? Or that during the Great Depression, the clubhouse kitchen was opened up to women in the community as a public cannery? The women of the club worked with the welfare department to start a hot soup program in public schools with canned food donated at the clubhouse. In addition, sewing rooms have been set up to make clothes for needy children in schools from donated materials.
During World War II, the clubhouse became a collection site for many items needed for the war effort, including metal, hosiery, and comfort items for soldiers. Additionally, the women of the club worked closely with the American Red Cross to effectively utilize the clubhouse. It was used to host courses for home nurses and to make surgical gowns. One of the biggest efforts in the clubhouse was the sale of war bonds, which were used to help buy several carrier ships.
In 1955, the Golden Age Club was established for seniors in Iredell County. 130 strong, in 1962 the SWC hosted Golden Age Club meetings at the clubhouse, served refreshments, provided transportation, and hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The National Recreation Association has recognized the SWC for its work with seniors in the community.
Throughout its history, the SWC has also been involved in international issues, including collecting and repairing 240 pounds of used clothing for European refugees and sponsoring a public presentation by the Women’s Affairs Officer of the SWC. Embassy of Israel.
In modern times, the clubhouse continues to be a central meeting place for the women of her club for the planning and implementation of community projects and several different fundraisers to support the many charities of the region. Mardi Bra Parties for My Sister’s House collected hundreds of women’s underwear. During the pandemic, the Holiday Cheer cartoon has raised thousands of dollars for the McKinney Vento homeless education program.
Sponsorship has been a big part of SWC history. As part of the Departments of Education and Arts, the SWC has offered scholarships to Mitchell Community College nursing and arts students. A GFWC International project that the SWC participated in was Success for Survivors, which is a scholarship to help survivors of domestic violence attend college. The clubhouse was used as a base for the SWC’s Sallie Southall Cotten Scholarship, an initiative of GFWC-NC, providing a $1,000 scholarship to the student’s college of choice. The SWC set up an evening school at the clubhouse for girls who wanted to complete their studies but had to work during normal school hours.
The SWC initiates projects and organizes fundraisers to benefit the community, but in keeping with the Founder’s mission to improve Iredell County, they cannot use money raised in this way to repair and upgrade. update the property. Therefore, over the years they have placed band-aids on the “Grand Ol’ Lady”, as they lovingly refer to the clubhouse. Through grants, rentals and a carefully planned five-year fundraising campaign, the SWC hopes to fund immediate needs and ensure worry-free upkeep well into the club’s future.
In honor of the historic clubhouse as it turns 95, the SWC will host afternoon tea at “The Clubhouse” preservation fundraiser. The fundraiser will take place on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. each day. There will be a chance to experience culinary delights, music and more with gluten-free and vegetarian options available. Tickets are $60 per person or a table of eight can be reserved for $480. All proceeds will go to the Statesville Women’s Club Capital Campaign Fund.
The capital campaign fund will help revive and protect the ‘Grand Ol’ Lady’. Anyone who has ever owned an older home or business will understand the challenge of keeping such a structure in good working order. The years certainly take a toll on aging plumbing, HVAC systems, and roofs!
The Statesville Women’s Club invites the public to join them for afternoon tea at the “Clubhouse” Preservation Fundraiser. In addition to enjoying an afternoon of delicious treats, there are sponsorship opportunities available, including but not limited to being a member of the Major Sponsor Circle at a $1,000 level. Anyone who joins the Major Sponsors Circle will receive a free one-day rental at the beautiful historic pavilion, valued at $45. For more sponsorship information, contact Dana White at 704-641-8199 or [email protected]
If you would like more information about the club or hiring the NC Statesville Woman’s Club GFWC for your meeting or event, inquiries can be directed to the club at [email protected] or by calling 704-761-8208. For details on club membership, contact Membership President Stephanie Gill at 704-657-5008.
For afternoon tea tickets, contact White at the number or email address previously provided. The club has also updated its website at www.statesvillewomansclub.org.