‘Grand Ol’ Lady’ has played key role in club’s efforts to serve Statesville for nearly 100 years; fundraiser scheduled for November 5-6
BY DANA WHITE
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, it purchased the house on 515 West End Avenue to function as its clubhouse, with a formal opening on September 13, 1927.
Six months later, in February of 1928, the clubhouse was almost completely burned down. With great fortitude and determination, the women of the SWC had the house rebuilt in the summer of 1928 and held their first meeting in the present clubhouse in December of 1928.
The SWC’s historic clubhouse has been Statesville’s house in many ways. For 95 years it has been a hub for cultural, educational and political growth and enlightenment for the communities the SWC serves. How many of you or your families attended weddings, receptions, showers, political forums, poetry readings or book clubs at the clubhouse?
Did you know that planning for the Statesville public library took place in the meeting room of the clubhouse? Or that during the Great Depression, the clubhouse’s kitchen was opened up to the women of the community as a public cannery? The clubwomen worked with the Welfare Department to start a hot soup lunch program in the public schools with the canned food donated to the clubhouse. Further, sewing rooms were established to make garments for needy children from donated materials.
During WWII, the clubhouse became a site for collection of many needed items for the war effort, including metal, hosiery and comfort items for the soldiers. Additionally, the clubwomen worked closely with the American Red Cross to utilize the clubhouse for classes for home nurses and to make surgical gowns. One of the greatest efforts that took place in the clubhouse was selling war bonds, which were used to help purchase several carrier ships.
In 1955, the Golden Age Club was established for senior citizens in Iredell County. With 130 members, in 1962, the SWC hosted the Golden Age Club’s meetings at the clubhouse, served refreshments, provided transportation, and hosted a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. The National Recreation Association recognized the SWC for its work with senior citizens in our community.
Throughout its history, the SWC has also been involved in international issues, including collecting and mending 240 pounds of used clothing for European refugees and sponsoring a public presentation by the Head of Women’s Affairs of the Israeli Embassy.
In modern times, the clubhouse continues to be a central meeting place for its clubwomen for planning and implementing community projects and several different fundraisers to support many area charities. Our Mardi Bra Parties for My Sister’s House have collected hundreds of women’s undergarments. During the Pandemic, the Holiday Cheer Drawing raised thousands of dollars for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program.
Sponsorship has been a large part of the history of the SWC. The club provided scholarships to nursing and art students at Mitchell Community College. A GFWC international project that the SWC participated in was Success for Survivors, which is a scholarship to assist domestic violence survivors attend college. The clubhouse has been used as the base for the SWC’s Sallie Southall Cotten Scholarship, a GFWC-NC initiative, providing an annual $1,000 college scholarship for tuition and fees. The SWC set up a night school at the clubhouse for girls who wanted to finish their education but needed to work during regular school hours.
The SWC initiates projects and holds fundraisers for the benefit of the community, but in keeping with the founders’ mission of the betterment of Iredell County, the club cannot use money raised in those ways to repair and update the property. Therefore, over the years, we have been placing band-aids the “Grand Ol’ Lady,” as we lovingly refer to the clubhouse. Through grants, rentals and a carefully planned five-year capital campaign, the SWC hopes to fund immediate needs and provide for worry-free upkeep well into the future of the club.
In honor of the historic clubhouse turning 95 years old, the SWC will be host An Afternoon Tea at “The Clubhouse” Preservation Fundraiser. This event will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2022, and Sunday, November 6, 2022, 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 may be reserved for $480. All proceeds will be directed to the Statesville Woman’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 have taked their toll on aged plumbing, HVAC systems and rooftops.
The Statesville Woman’s Club invites you to join us for An Afternoon Tea at “The Clubhouse” Preservation Fundraiser. The deadline for purchasing tickets has been extended to Monday, October 31, at 5 .pm. Please text or call Dana White at 704-641-8199.
In addition to enjoying an afternoon of delightful treats, there are sponsorship opportunities available, including being a member of the Circle of Grand Sponsors at the $1,000 level. Anyone who joins the Circle of Grand Sponsors will receive a complimentary one-day rental at the beautiful, historic Clubhouse, valued at $450. To learn more about sponsorship, please contact Dana White at 704-641-8199 or email@example.com.
If you would like more information about the club or about renting the GFWC of NC Statesville Woman’s Club for your meeting or event, inquiries may be directed to the club at Statesvillewomansclub@gmail.com or by calling 704-761-8208. For details on joining the club, please contact Membership Chair Stephanie Gill at 704-657-5008. The club has also updated their website to www.statesvillewomansclub.org.
Editor’s Note: Dana White is the president of the Statesville Woman’s Club.